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343 MSC Cruises MSC Divina Cruise Reviews

I loved w everything about the ship and the experience. The entertainment was some of the best. The buffet good was great and there was never a line. They really know how to do the captain cocktail party. I love that they offer discounted ... Read More
I loved w everything about the ship and the experience. The entertainment was some of the best. The buffet good was great and there was never a line. They really know how to do the captain cocktail party. I love that they offer discounted drink ticket booklets you can buy vs all you can drink packages. The only negatives is mention are the staff is nice when you approach them but they do not overly engage with you and get to know you by name like other lines. Also the dinner service is soooooo slow I'm glad I did the early seating. I heard some people that dined late that didn't finish til almost 11!!!! Lastly while the food during the day was excellent the good at dinner wasn't so great mainly the meats but the Mediterraneans have a different way of doing things. All in all it was a great trip and I am planning on going on the divine again. I took my parents on the cruise as an anniversary gift and even when my mom fell ill (she forgot some of her meds nothing caused by the ship) they took great care of her. If you have traveled to Europe and are used to and comfortable around other countries/cultures I encourage you to give the divina a try Read Less
Sail Date December 2010
We have done a number of transatlantic crossings and enjoy the sea days, this was our 2nd time in the Yacht Club. The Yacht Club experience is worth every penny, it is a quit oasis on an otherwise very pretty but very crowded ship. The ... Read More
We have done a number of transatlantic crossings and enjoy the sea days, this was our 2nd time in the Yacht Club. The Yacht Club experience is worth every penny, it is a quit oasis on an otherwise very pretty but very crowded ship. The service in the lounge and the pool is exceptional, the head butler is always visible, always ensuring that all your needs are met, all the staff without exception were always smiling,pleasant and happy to assist. Whatever you may want to drink is available and different food items are available in the lounge throughout the day, it is also a quiet pleasant area to relax indoors and look out the windows or read. The room butler and the assistant were always somewhere in the area, as soon as you left your room in the morning, your room would be refreshed before you returned. Our assistant attendent sewed a button for us, shined shoes and was always there to greet or open the door. I was very pleased with the yacht club, but did not give it a five rating for a couple of reasons, none of which would prevent me from going again. The cabins and the balcony are the size of a typical balcony room, you have very limited counter space, the few larger rooms and suites all seem to book very early. The pool area is great but has limited shade, it could use some umbrellas for shade in the areas, people were searching out shady spots. The food in The Muse restaurant was inconsistent for dinner, the choices on the left side of the menu were restricted, they always had a beef or chicken on the alternate menu and that was the choice many nights. Sometimes you ordered one thing and received another, sometimes it was just not good. When a special pasta was prepared by the head of the department it was outstanding, making me wander why all the food could not have been as good. Breakfast and lunch was always good and the staff were all pleasant. We are black card members so received 2 speciality restaurant dinners. We ate in Eataly , a fixed menu, it was nice, very few patrons at the time. We ate in Galaxy, again a set menu, with very different food items that may not appeal to all, it was an experience, one other couple in the restaurant at the time.You are escorted on and off the ship, which makes the process easier but it would be nice if it was a seperate route from everyone else. The concierge is always available and answers all questions. We went to a couple of shows ,visited the casino a bit but basically stayed in the Yacht Club areas.The gym was fine, a little crowded in the morning as usual, gym staff very helpful, had a facial, very pleasant and very reasonably priced. The passesgers were a very international mix , and the staff were able to communicate with all. Read Less
Sail Date December 2010
We were very excited to sail on the new Divina after really enjoying a cruise on the Poesia in the Caribbean in March 2012. We loved the Poesia's understated elegant colors and materials, very unlike Carnival with its over the top ... Read More
We were very excited to sail on the new Divina after really enjoying a cruise on the Poesia in the Caribbean in March 2012. We loved the Poesia's understated elegant colors and materials, very unlike Carnival with its over the top bright colors that require sunglasses 24/7. Well, the Divina is even nicer. The nicest area of the ship is the Aurea Spa, whose walls are made with real slate stone. Stunning to look at. Embarkation: definitely a weak point in Venice. The lines were insane and moved very slowly. After schlepping my suitcases from the people mover to the ship in 100 degree + temperatures, the last thing I wanted to do was wait in line outside. Thankfully we were travelling with an infant so we were able to get in the priority line but even this line was long. The problem is that MSC never sent us luggage tags. When we finally got the the front of the line, we were asked our cabin number and then was presented with our cruise booklet (which should have been mailed in advance)in which there are luggage tags. What MSC should do is have lines by deck number and have there booklet distribution tables set up at each line. There is only one table with all the booklets and numerous employees are trying to access the box at the same time. A bit chaotic. AS we were waiting for the booklet with luggage tags, someone else told us we cannot use the priority line. When the guy came back with our tags, the two of them starting arguing in Italian as to who can actually use the priority line. Quite amusing to see two Italians argue. It looks like ballet! Dropping off our luggage was quite easy then we proceeded inside to check in. This was quick and easy. The ship: As mentioned above, it is truly a beautiful ship. What amazed me is that they are already painting, fixing, etc. The ship is only on it's 4th weekly trip! I guess that's why many of their older ships look as new as the Divina. I won't go into much detail but overall the Divina is super nice. One issue: the ship was at full capacity and the elevators couldn't keep up. We used a baby stroller all the time and often had to wait for 4 elevators to find one that had room for us. The food: We ate all dinners in the dining room, Black Crab lower level. The soups, pastas were great. Meat not great. Roast beef was very disappointing. Perhaps in Europe, they don't serve prime rib like they do stateside, but it was like brisket in gravy. Also the shrimps were overcooked and tasted very fishy as if not fresh. Breakfast was split btwn the MDR and the buffet, both good. Ditto for lunch, although lunch service is a bit slow. The shows: we enjoyed them all, especially the tribute to Michael Jackson. Dancers were great as were the acrobats, singers not too bad either. The crew: very friendly and outgoing. 10 out of 10 The passengers: the ship was at full capacity. One would think that people would be somewhat courteous to family with a stroller. No such luck. People pushed and shoved getting in and out of the elevators. Most people didn't even bother waiting for people to get out before they pushed their way in. You ask people to move and they simply ignore you. Not the ship's fault but disappointing just the same. Ports of call: We did our own thing in each port. Took public transit in Istanbul and Dubrovnik, never used the ship shuttle and walked a lot. There is enough info online about each port. We walked in Bari, swam in Katakalon, walked thru the bazaar in Izmir, Blue Mosque and both bazaars in Istanbul and the old city in Dubrovnik. Disembarkation: we were in no rush to leave as our flight was 4:30pm. We got off at 10:30 with no lines whatsoever. In summary, beautiful ship, nice ports, ok food, great staff but rude passengers. Read Less
Sail Date June 2012
Just come back from the divina 9 /16 june 2012 What a beautiful ship, stunning decoration. Balcony cabin very nice spacious and obviously very clean. Food nice mostly hot ,small portions but 7 courses and if you have them all it is ... Read More
Just come back from the divina 9 /16 june 2012 What a beautiful ship, stunning decoration. Balcony cabin very nice spacious and obviously very clean. Food nice mostly hot ,small portions but 7 courses and if you have them all it is ample or you can always ask for a side salad or chips which were given with pleasure. Can get a bit mad in the serve yourself restaurant but there are enough serving areas . over 2800 on the ship and we never queued for more than a couple of minutes and food was almost always hot. YES there are a few people who try to push in but a tap on the shoulder and a point to the end of the queue normally done the trick. If you both drink 3 pints or shorts and 2 coffees in a day then buy the aggrissimo drinks package 20 pound a day was a bargain as its 5 euros plus service charge for each drink and you also can try a huge range of cocktails and things like g and t are all included. Entertainment was not a lot of good if you are english but the classical music played everyday (in the middle of the impressive staircase)that you could here from 3 floors was absolutly fantastic.It does become quite amusing when everything is said in 5 languages but also can be very irritating. Excursions are dear and advise you to take the shuttle bus small charge and do your own thing All the negative comments ive read about msc were put to bed by my stay on the divina.A nd the small problems we experienced were far outweighted by the positives WELL DONE MSC. Read Less
Sail Date June 2012
This was our first foray into European Cruising. We have previously cruised twice with the children in the Carribean, most recently on NCL Epic's inaugural season. We travelled as a party of 4 in a 'Cove' balcony suite. ... Read More
This was our first foray into European Cruising. We have previously cruised twice with the children in the Carribean, most recently on NCL Epic's inaugural season. We travelled as a party of 4 in a 'Cove' balcony suite. Embarkation Was the best we have ever encountered. Well done MSC! We stayed the night before our cruise in a hotel in Mestre, who provided transportation to the cruise terminal for €4.00 each. In Venice terms this was a bargain. We left the hotel at around 1115 and in a little over an hour we were in our cabin! The fact that you seem to be able to board this cruise at 4 out of the 5 ports of call seems to aid the 'hotel' team in turning around the cabins. The Ship Having previously cruised Epic we were expecting big things! Divina is a small cruise ship which they have tried to 'pump up' and make everything bigger. In our opinion it really doesn't work. She is pretty enough to look at, she's clean, well cared for and new but her designers are obviously French and Italian. She is like a high end Citreon or Fiat, looks races with her Pinaforina lines but fails miserably when it comes to practical performance. Here are a couple of examples. Look at any of the worlds big Cruise ships, Epic or the 2 RCL ships, Oasis or Allure they have 'central corridors' which their restaurants, bars, are arranged off of. To walk from one end of the ship to the other you do no have to walk through a crowded bar. On Divina Deck 7 is just a series of rooms joined together. You feel really self conscious when you have to walk between the performers on stage and the bar they are entertaining - very loud too when you have to walk only a few cms away from their speakers! The pool deck is a disaster. Admittedly we went during the school holiidays - kids cruise free all year on MSC - so we were expecting it to be busy but again the poor design does not help. The ship only has 2 pools that are available to the majority of passengers. I say 2 there is a 3rd pool a the rear of the ship in what is supposed to be an adult only area that was filled with more kids than the main pool! I believe the MSC Yacht club has its own pool too. The second main pool on Deck 14 is under a retracting roof, this is fine but the area around it is given up to tables and chairs and not loungers? His means tha the pool basically becomes a haven for unsupervised children who's parents have found an inch of deck space 3 decks away! I think the record was 15 children in 1 spa pool all of whom did not seem to have a responsible adult in sight. To be fair to MSC a pool attendant was trying his best to create some sort of control but kids will be kids. I also question why n a sea day MSC find it necessary to empty the entire contents f ever shop nboard onto the pool desk when space is such a premium. Not only that but every time they do it on the same non-smoking side of the ship, where space is a premium anyway. The Cabin Fantastic - excellent - well done MSC! The Crew They all work very hard to get a difficult job done. The cabin attendants, waiters, waitresses, Spa masseurs and cleaners are all extremely helpful and everything is done with a smile. The Food We could not fault it! The Black Crab restaurant food was great. Always hot, always tasty. I cannot believe they have the ability to cook pasta and risotto perfect every time for tha number of people - simply stunning! The buffet was sometime a struggle to find a seat but the food was plentiful if typical cruise fayre! The Kids Program The isn't one! Well not like Carnival or NCL. This is basically a Child minding service whe they play UNO, draw or play some basic party games. Our kids could not wait to go to the kids area on Epic. There was a structured program and the vast majority of kids onboard went. On MSC it's the opposite. The majority of kids run wild around the ship and never use the club. We only used the club whilst we used the spa and occasionally after dinner to allow some energy burn off. Very disappointing. Disembarkation Again not really a problem but as some reviewers have previously stated there are a lot of people to get off. It was worth getting up early to witness the ship quietly slip back into Venice - magnificent views of St Marks Square before the tourists get up! Overview You get what you pay for! After a week on Divina we could see why a similar cruise on NCL costs about half as much again more! The kids program could be improved and would make a huge difference to life onboard for everybody, customers and crew alike. It is obvious that the MSC design team did not do a familiarisation on other ships before they designed Divina. There is nothing to occupy people on sea days. No climbing walls, no flow riders, no zip wires and no crazy golf. All of which would be effective at alleviating the demand on deck space on sea days. They have this strange 30 minute rule on sunbeds which is only enforced sporadically. I understand what they are trying to achieve but with no outdoor dining and trip to the bar or ice cream shop taking a good part of 30 minutes it seems groomed to failure. In fact with 2 children and no kids club we could have been away from our sunloungers for more than 30 minutes without any problem a all! Read Less
Sail Date July 2012
My husband & I have cruised with MSC 2 times: the MSC Fantasia & the Divina. We enjoyed both vacations very much. The cruise line does an extremely good job of maintaining and cleaning their ships and presenting fresh food in the ... Read More
My husband & I have cruised with MSC 2 times: the MSC Fantasia & the Divina. We enjoyed both vacations very much. The cruise line does an extremely good job of maintaining and cleaning their ships and presenting fresh food in the major eating areas. The downside is that some of the passengers are just downright rude, e.g. bump into you and not say excuse me, try to hoard and reserve deck chairs when no one's in them; talking in loud voices unnecessarily, allowing their children to accompany them into adults-only areas and misbehave. The staff in general have not been properly trained in customer service. Given the international nature of the passengers, they may think they do not need to learn or attempt to speak English, but this is the international language, and one they may rely upon to communicate effectively with most passengers. The majority of the staff do smile or go out of their way to provide outstanding service; rather, service was perfunctory, except for our cabin steward and our server in the formal dining area who were outstanding. We stayed at the Courtyard Marriott in Tessera, which is near the Marco Polo Airport in Venice. The city of Venice is accessible by city bus, but takes between 30 to 50 minutes to get there via bus and then water taxi (valporetti), depending on the traffic. We went stayed 3 nights and went into Venice 2 times, so we purchased a city pass for both. The hotel provided our transfer to the Venice Cruise Terminal and breakfast as part of a special package rate. Recommended local restaurant: Al Quadrante: a pizza place that serves other Italian dishes, and it's GREAT! The pizza was not oily and the crust was out of this world. My pasta dish was also delicious. We did not partake in the onboard activities, except for frequenting the casino, which was our major form of evening entertainment. Given the fact we were there every night of the cruise, one would have thought that the casino/bar staff and servers would recognize us and personalize their service; however, this did not happen. These are the little touches that one misses on MSC, whereas when one has experienced outstanding customer service, the experience is much more positive. A 7 euro gratuity is automatically charged each day, so there is no individual tipping. The food in the main Dining Room: The Black Crab was hit or miss. The pasta & soups & desserts were the best; the meats were not good: gizzly & flavorless. Be sure to order 4-5 courses so that you have enough to eat compared to American standards. On our first cruise we did not attend a single show; this time, on the Divina, our daughter & son-in-law went to one of the shows and raved about it, so we attend the remaining ones. Caberet quality with lipsynching and live singing. Some outstanding indivdual performances, but overall, just OK. However, we're glad we went (full houses all nights). Disembarkation went smoothly; however, we purchased the transfer from the boat to the Airport and we had to wait in the heat for over an hour for the MSC bus to arrive. We decided that we should have paid a bit more and left via taxi because it cut our duty-free shopping time short. Read Less
Sail Date July 2012
Embarking in Venice went smooth. Everyone was curtious on the whole entire ship. People getting on the ship were clueless and trying to get away with cutting and not dropping their luggage off, but were stopped and informed of the ... Read More
Embarking in Venice went smooth. Everyone was curtious on the whole entire ship. People getting on the ship were clueless and trying to get away with cutting and not dropping their luggage off, but were stopped and informed of the procedures. The ship itself is already showing wear and tear after only 2 mths at sea. The carpet in our room was snagged, there were missing tiles all around the pool. Stair edges worn down. We had an outside window cabin. The window was large enough for an adult to sit in. We also had the 2 bunks down over the king bed and still felt like we had enough room. No memory foam as I have had heard mention. But we were also only Category 5. Would have been nice to have a few more shelves in the closet, but we managed. The room cleaners worked aroudn the clock it seemed. The room was kept clean at all times from them. Having the Olympics on was a plus, even though it was in German it gave us something to watch aside from the 3 english speaking news channels. We only dined in the main dining room for 3 dinners. The choices did not interest our family of 4. The first night we ate in the DR it was good. But the other 2 nights were not enjoyably edible at all. So we ate all our meals for the most part at the Buffet. My kids lived off French Fries. There were a few choices that changed everyday, but most stayed the same. Bacon every morning couldnt even be called a 1/4 cooked. It and the sausage were not edible. BF menu at the buffet was the same everyday aside from potatoes somedays, and hashbrowns other days. Lunch and dinner at the buffet was the same everyday normally aside from the Ethnic corner and the daily specials. Some evenings there were a few choices on the buffet that were also on the DR menu or they would show up the next day on the lunch menu. The couple times I tried to have steamed vegies, they were so laden with salt they weren't edible. Trying to find a place to sit wasn't to big of an issue aside from this morning at disembarktion. Other then that people just sat whereever and shared table space. We chose not to do the Allegrismo drink package and did just the tickets. Purchased the European Beer package and was only allowed Heinken or Becks. Even though there was 8 different European beer choices. That is american beer to my husband. A couple times he was able to get good German beer, but it was a hassle. I also bought the basic water package of 14 bottles. It was the basic nasty San Benedetto. Called toilet water in our house. We also had the 7 free bottles for being americans and didn't need it all. The water at the buffet tasted great. So we drank all we could. I brought 6 liters home to feed my animals since they dont care where their water comes from and I payed for it. The pools(small) were normally crowded, but you could get in them. We only got in 2X being that fresh saltwater is pumped into an empty pool everyday and it was freezing. Finding a chair was difficult at most times. A few times we saw the pool area bosses go through and do a sweep of 50+ towels off chairs as well as belongings because people would leave them "saved" allday. And they warn you it will happen if a chair sits idle 20-30 min. The arcade consisted of 8 different games. The slide is only open 2 times a day for 2 hrs. But children would congrigate at the bottom and not move, so it would take 10-20 min between each turn for others because they wouldnt move. My children found the whole ship boring(young teens). Attempted to do the arts and class thing they had on the schedule each day and was told it wasn't for kids. As for the stops. Bari Italy,Katakolon Greece,Izmir and Istanbul Turkey and Dubrovnik Croatia. Bari: we chose to walk the pier into town. Even though we read that you werent allowed to. Many did it with no issues. Saw several of the main recommended sites and walked back. All at no costly excursions. Katakolon: we went off reviews and chose not to go to Olympia. Instead walked through town and caught the little put put train up the road 15 min and got off at the beach(no jellyfish like in the waters by the ship). It was 6E for adults and 4E for kids.(An excursion to a different beach 30min away was 23E PA) There are multiple shops through out the town all selling the same stuff and extremely pushy people. One place we did business with and will do more if they ever get an internet business up called "Aristoteles Olivewood Workshop". About half way down the main drag on the left. Great non pushy folks that speak english. Awesome gifts to be had in there. As well as prices. We saw a few similar pcs in other stores for more. Izmir we chose to prebook with Ephesus Deluxe tours based on reviews and wasnt the slightest bit sorry. Our Guide Bill(who also has his own side business guiding cant find his card at the moment) was awesome and SO knowledgeable. We were only in port for 6 hrs so they shortened it to 5hrs for the same prepay price it just wasnt suppose to include lunch and a rug demonstration. We were unsure of our time frame and so rushed through Ephesus un nessacarily, But still saw what we went for. Would have loved to tape all he told us. When we were returning I asked him about possibilities of seeing rug demonstrations in Istanbul the following day and he said we had time to spare and took us to a place that made them Even though he said they werent pushy etc. and wouldnt haggle the price was the price. They came down 2X for a total of 20% but we still did not buy. They were laying out carpets left and right and men kept coming from all over with more. We were just interested in how they were made. Istanbul: We walked out to the main street and caught the tram to the Blue Mosque and all the surrounding tourist spots. It was definately tourist must see spot. We wandered the outside of places and then chose to go into the Cistern after reading many recomendations. While it is neat, I wouldnt recomend others go in. It isnt all "that". They have a photo gimmick set up with people drapping you in Turkish Royal garb and then you can buy the photos or a disk. Well I saw someone with a disk and they guy said 60 Lira. I said no I have 20 and he said 45 and I said no I have 20. Well needless to say, he took the 20 and I got a disk of 29pics of my kids. Unfortunatley not a large variety on it, But hey it was only 20Kuna. We then went onto the Bazaar. It is a maze of pushy people. Some willing to dicker and others not willing to budge. We got so lost we wandered till we got to the spice market. More pushy folks who are less willing to haggle, but I found a few who would. We were then just over the bridge from the dock, so wandered the Galtica Bridge back. Dubrovnik: Even though Rick Steves says you will get tendered into the old city not true with the Divina and a couple other ships we saw there. YOu get tendered into the new port(We were given a ticket for tender spot and time. Most people werent there nor paying attention to directions, so we didnt have to wait for several tenders, we left on the second one by just walking along with the guide.)And have to make your way to the other side of town. Transfer was 10E PP. We chose to take one of the many taxis that was 10E total for 4 or 75 kuna. Dropped us at the wall. The views were nice on the wall but very hot on it. We then wandered the main streets. All the same stuff in most stores, but extremely high prices. Got 1 pizza for our kids and drinks for us 4 and it was 151 Kuna. In another part of Croatia we were in a few weeks ago we only payed 120 for 4 pizzas and drinks. Most things are in Euro and they have to stop and think when you ask the price in Kuna since that is what I had. The admission to wall included the fort next door on the hill. Dont waste your leg strength, not worth it. We again listened to Rick Steves book and chose to take the bus back. He said it would be 10K but it was 15K a piece for us 2 adults and 1 of the kids. So total we payed just under 20USD on our own for transportation instead of the 49USD we would have payed with the Cruise transfer. You can get all the souveniers back at the pier. The ones under the huge building are cheaper then the individual tents set up on the outside. The cruise ship is now at dock and you can walk on and not be tendered back. As for disembarktion. The cafeteria wasa mob scene and no where to sit. Folks also just hanging out till there leaving time. It is done by floor. You have to be out of your room by 730. Since we were the bottom floor we were last. We were told to be at meeting spot at 945, they finally came for us at 1005. We walked down, got our luggage and walked the 25min walk to train station. Took a few min longer then when we came since 4 ships were also disembarking and folks were all over. Hope this has helped someone! The evening shows, even though enjoyable were only 25-30 min long and the finale on the last night was only 20min long. Great performers, but to short. Being that it was the only entertainment on the show aside from all the pianos playing in different lounges. Read Less
Sail Date July 2012
Overall a pleasant trip. Food was very good and room was nice. Unfortunately we traveled at a time of severe unrest in the Middle East. My wife and I visited Tunis and later that same day they had a riot (Sept 11, 2012), Marseille where ... Read More
Overall a pleasant trip. Food was very good and room was nice. Unfortunately we traveled at a time of severe unrest in the Middle East. My wife and I visited Tunis and later that same day they had a riot (Sept 11, 2012), Marseille where they had a demonstration, and Barcelona where they had strikes(I think over austerity). It certainly wasn't MSC's fault but heck, I'm paying for excitement I didn't reckon on and it was unsettling. We made a grievious error eating breakfast at the buffet every day until the very last day when we ate in the dining room. Crowded, noisy, rude travelers AND busboys-not a pleasant experience. We should have eaten at the dining room every morning-great waiters, beautiful room, quite! Our mistake because we always had good experiences at breakfast buffets on other cruise lines. Disappointed with entertainment(shows). Read Less
Sail Date September 2012
We boarded the ship in Venice, having booked a package which included flights from London and transfer to the ship. Our daughter (9 years old) is in a wheelchair. The transfers, both to and from the ship were very smooth, with MSC ... Read More
We boarded the ship in Venice, having booked a package which included flights from London and transfer to the ship. Our daughter (9 years old) is in a wheelchair. The transfers, both to and from the ship were very smooth, with MSC staff assisting us with embarkation and disembarkation. Once onboard, we were immediately taken to our cabin, a category 5 oceanview on deck 8. The cabin was very clean and comfortable with enough space for our daughter's wheelchair despite not being a disabled cabin (there are no disabled oceanview cabins on this ship which, considering its size and age, is disappointing). Our cabin steward was excellent. He came and introduced himself shortly after we settled in our cabin and took note of any requests. He was extremely attentive and very friendly. We found the food excellent, both in the buffet and a la carte restaurants. We ate breakfast and lunch in the Calumet Buffet Restaurant on Deck 14, and were assigned a table for dinner in the Black Crab Restaurant on Deck 5. Our table waiters were excellent. There was plenty of variety in the buffet restaurant which included daily specials and 'Ethnic Corner', with foods from a different country on each day. We found the crew to be generally very helpful and friendly. The passenger mix was very cosmopolitan, with guests from all over Europe as well as some from the Middle East, Japan, China, USA and Australia.Now for the niggles. We found the shore excursions to be very expensive, so we only booked 1, in Istanbul. The excursion included the Blue Mosque, Museum and Grand Bazaar as well as a visit to a carpet manufacturer. There just wasn't enough time to fully enjoy the sights. For example we only had 20 minutes in the Grand Bazaar - barely enough time to walk in and look at a few shops. At the carpet manufacturer we got the hard-sell, which I found a little overbearing. We opted for the shuttle bus service organised by MSC in Bari. We found this to be very disorganised as hundreds of people were pushing to get onto the buses and we stood no chance with our daughter in the wheelchair. We ended up having to request an MSC crewmember to come and assist us as there was nobody organising the queuing for the buses. We had a mixed experience from reception staff, with some being very helpful and others indifferent or struggling with the language. The lifts on the ship were important to us, as we were unable to use the stairs with our daughter in the wheelchair. The lifts were very heavily used and in my view there just weren't enough for a ship of this size with over 4,000 passengers. We sometimes had to wait as several full lifts passed. We did, however, discover two side lifts tucked away from the main stairwells which were not as heavily used, and ended up using these for the remainder of the cruise. Lastly, the onboard shopping proved to be a less-than-satisfying experience. The day after we embarked we went to the Logo Shop on Deck 7 to purchase a metal model of the Divina mounted on a wooden plinth. The shop assistant told us that they were out of stock and would not be available for the duration of the cruise. There was even an advert in the daily magazine suggesting that if you purchased 2 models you could receive a 25% discount, despite no Divina models being available. Also, they seemed to run out of bags to put purchases in. They seem to have a serious stock management issue.All in all though, I would say the experience was positive and we are very much looking forward to our next cruise. Read Less
Sail Date October 2012
At half term we went on the MSC Divina for a Mediterranean cruise. It was a bit of a strange holiday for us as our eldest had gone to university so it was the first holiday without her and our youngest was on her own with us oldies. Also ... Read More
At half term we went on the MSC Divina for a Mediterranean cruise. It was a bit of a strange holiday for us as our eldest had gone to university so it was the first holiday without her and our youngest was on her own with us oldies. Also my parents who are in their 70's came with us for the first time and it was their first cruise. I apologise for the length of the review, but I didn't want to miss anything out. EMBARKATION: This went really smoothly. We caught a taxi from the airport which dropped us right by the ship and we then queued for about 15 mins to go through all the rigmarole you need to do before getting on. Quite smooth really. SHIP: The MSC Divina is a huge ship with the most amazing Swarovski staircases in the reception area with a beautiful grand piano on the lower floor. It all looks spectacular. Although the ship was huge the only place that seemed really busy was the buffet restaurant, which was very manic at times. Everywhere else was just right, except the Black & White Lounge after the main show had finished, but even then we always managed to get a seat. We usually managed to find a sunbed, usually on the upper deck. Our cabin was a good size with not quite enough storage space for 3 of us, as our daughter was sharing a cabin with us. She slept on the settee which was opened each night for her. The only trouble was she didn't have a duvet so she was a bit cold sometimes. Lovely balcony with 2 chairs and a table. FOOD: Fantastic choice of food in the main dining room, lovely presentation, but the taste wasn't really that good. I soon realized that the fish dishes were better than the meat dishes so stuck to these mainly. Pasta was always al dente. We used the buffet restaurant for breakfast and lunch. It was always manic and difficult to find a seat for 5 of us. Most of the tables are for 4 people. We usually managed to find one at the back of the restaurant though. The only trouble was by the time you got to the back your food was lukewarm. The Magnifique Buffet was visually stunning, but again absolutely packed and it was hard to actually get to the food. The Black Crab restaurant itself was beautiful, but we were put into a little side room with about 6 tables in, so sometimes we felt left out when something was happening in the main area. Baked Alaska parade was the worst I've ever seen (or not seen as we were in the little room) and only lasted for about 10 seconds. We had the Allegrissimo drinks package which was brilliant. Practically all the drinks were included, and ice-cream, and it meant you weren't worried about the bill at the end. ENTERTAINMENT: The shows in the theatre were amazing. There was a tenor who was fantastic and a female singer who was so-so. The dancers were really good and there were also loads of acrobatics, tumblers etc and even a bit of a magic act. For some reason the Michael Jackson show got a standing ovation, even though you couldn't see the dancers sometimes when they just showed a whole music video of Michael Jackson and the dancers missed one of the most famous parts of the Thriller dance out! Unfortunately on the last night they just repeated parts of the previous 6 nights, which was a bit disappointing. Franco the Cruise Director was hilarious with his signature pose and you could see people during their days on shore copying him. PORTS: We didn't do any of the ship's excursions, but made our own way around: BARI: We just walked from the ship into the town and walked around the cobbled streets. There were loads of men on the rocks by the sea catching cuttlefish. This really is a beautiful town. Getting back onto the ship was a complete nightmare. We must have queued for about ½ hour. The problem seemed to be due to people embarking here and having to put their luggage through the scanners. KATAKOLON: We caught a taxi to Olympia (I think it cost €100 for the 5 of us). We had a walk around Olympia and had a run on the track. The taxi then dropped us off amongst the shops in Katakolon for some retail therapy. IZMIR: We caught a taxi, as the sightseeing bus by this time was selling tickets for the bus in about 1½ hours time. I think the taxi cost us €20 each and he took us to the various tourist places. The driver was lovely until we asked him to drop us by the clock tower instead of going into the Grand Bazaar. He kept saying he couldn't stop there and insisted on taking us into the Grand Bazaar to a certain shop where he was obviously going to get a commission if we bought anything. Not impressed! ISTANBUL: We took the advice of a previous reviewer and caught the tram to where the Blue Mosque, Hagia Sophia etc were. The tram was really cheap and easy to use. Just turn left out of the port, walk down the main road until you come to the tram station, then buy your tokens to get you onto the station. Get off at Sultanahmet and you can see the sights. Don't miss the Basilica Cisterns which are the other side of the main road from Hagia Sophia. We then walked to the Grand Bazaar, following the signs, which is the most amazing place if you like shopping, then caught the tram back. DUBROVNIC: By the time we got off the ship all the taxis had disappeared so we caught the ship's shuttle for €10 each, which turned out to be really handy. The last time we staying in Dubrovnic we caught the bus into the town, but it was quite a walk to the bus stop for my parents. The shuttle dropped us off outside the town walls. We then caught the cable car to the top of the mountain to see the view, after which we walked around the town. We had to wait about 5 mins for the shuttle bus back to the ship. DISEMBARKATION: We were told the night before leaving that due to the colour of label we had on our luggage, we would have to disembark at 8.00. My parents were told 8.15. As our taxi wasn't coming until 10.00 I asked reception if we could stay on a bit longer. They just said "You want to stay longer, you stay longer" (obviously in an Italian accent), so in the morning we lingered over breakfast and then sat in the reception lounge until we decided to leave. It is mainly Italians and Germans on board so all the main announcements are made in several languages, which can go on for quite a long time. The games around the pool and in the Black & White Lounge were only in Italian so it was difficult to work out what was going on sometimes, but all the staff can speak English well. On the whole we had a lovely time. My younger daughter missed her sister and didn't go to the teen club, as she was worried it was full of Germans and Italians, but she enjoyed the party dances in the Black & White Lounge. She also enjoyed being chases around by the photographers! The time in port wasn't really long enough for us, although it was plenty long enough for my parents. This really was an excellent cruise for them with only a few hours in port and plenty of time to have a nap! VIEWS OF A 16 YEAR OLD ENGLISH GIRL: PORTS: I have always loved Italy and Greece so I enjoyed visiting Venice, Bari and Katakolon. I was excited to see the places in Turkey since I had never been there before. Like any other teenager when I am on holiday I try my hardest to get a tan. When we visited Izmir I decided to wear a playsuit due to the gorgeous weather -- bad choice. I have never had so much attention in my life. I don't particularly enjoy attention and found it horrible that I even had 60+ men staring at my legs. So piece of advice, COVER UP. Also, if you're white be prepared to be ogled. FOOD: Even though I am a very fussy vegetarian I absolutely loved the food. In the buffet it is safe to say there is something for everyone even if you have the risk of being trampled on by very hungry pensioners. In the evening we went to the restaurant. Even though we were stuck in the corner with the other people who spoke English I still enjoyed my meals. There was a large variety and plenty of it. Because there are seven courses you expect them all to be small -- think again. Every single evening I exited that room in a food coma, it was wonderful. (Don't expect to lose weight). HOWEVER, my favourite night on every cruise is Baked Alaska. Usually (with every other cruise line) the waiters and chefs make a massive deal out of it, parading around the whole restaurant doing silly dances or what not, BUT no. To say I was incredibly disappointed with the display would be an under statement. They walked to some stairs (by the quickest route) stood there for half a minute and then left. Not cool. CRUISE SHIP AND STAFF: Personally I prefer smaller ships than this. There were way too many people sometimes to enjoy yourself and not enough space -- major traffic jams. The staff were amazing. A few of the waitresses were having banter with my granddad which was hilarious to witness. I did tend to get harassed by the photographers, which escalated when my mom told one of them my name. This led to me being stalked for practically 5 days of my holiday hearing him shout my name. OTHER PASSENGERS: I try my best not to judge and be nice to other people, but this holiday made it impossible. It is rather easy to know the nationality of someone either by the way they look or if you can hear them speak and know the language. I just found them all rude. I've been brought up with manners and try my hardest to stick to them, but the Italians and Germans do not seem to possess any. Numerous times I held the door for people or waited to let people past and not once did I get a 'danke'/'grazie'. They didn't go by the suggested evening wear. I do enjoy to dress up and understand that other people don't, but wearing jeans on a formal night is just unnecessary. And then for rude old people to look me up and down and bitch about me is rude and uncalled for. Also, if you are travelling with an English 16 year old pre-warn them that they will most likely not find another English person around the same age. I do love my family but I did long for company of my own age in a language I could speak. Another point, I love exercising, I always try to keep fit, as I did try on the ship. However, whenever I went to the gym it was packed with people who clearly were only there because it was something to do. There was a girl in Harems. I'd understand if it was yoga but she was on an exercise bike and she was wearing converses. I'm sorry, but if you want to stay fit, your only chance of actually exercising in the gym is if you wake up at opening time. By the way, you know that running track they say is on board, they lied. ENTERTAINMENT: Loved it! The shows were fab and Franco (cruise director) was brilliant. After the first two nights I thought I wasn't going to enjoy the shows because there were quite a few old songs and opera. But then they jazzed it up a bit and I really enjoyed them. I know it seems lame for a 16 year old to be doing party dances but I thought they were great, although it was quite hard to follow them when the instructions were in Italian, but I soon got the hang of it. If you want to ask me any questions, just state the sixteen year old. I'm happy to answer anything ? Read Less
Sail Date October 2012
After writing an extensive and mostly glowing review of a 7 day voyage in MSC Splendida's Yacht Club May of 201, we returned in November of 2012 for 11 days on MSC's new Divina, again in a Yacht Club cabin. The first review was ... Read More
After writing an extensive and mostly glowing review of a 7 day voyage in MSC Splendida's Yacht Club May of 201, we returned in November of 2012 for 11 days on MSC's new Divina, again in a Yacht Club cabin. The first review was written in the glow of our first Med Cruise and Yacht Club experience. Does MSC's exclusive and pricey experience stand up to a second trips scrutiny? The Ship and public spaces: Divina is virtually identical to the Splendida in layout, save the cursory changes in bar themes and color schemes. Most notably to me was the addition of a sports bar with at least 10 screens, which allowed me to watch a couple sports events that I didn't want to miss. The food menu was unique in this bar as well with pub food and beers from around the world. Nice! They have a silly two lane bowling alley in the bar as well. Fun for the kids I suppose, but at 8 Euro a game, I didn't see a single game in action. None of the other many bars stood out, but there was a general (personal?) feeling that the overall style was a bit less flashy than the Splendida. There is still plenty of shiny chrome, brass, Swarovski crystal embedded stairs etc. There is an ample Cyber cafe with a printer that, while still charging stiff fees for internet usage, they at least print at no charge. 24 hours of prepaid WiFi internet usage is 150 Euro. Wifi connection was strong across all the areas I used it in, save for, ironically our cabin! The Casino seemed much larger, spanning the width of the 6th deck. The pool areas are very nice and appeared spacious on at sea days. The spa is excellent, very well finished and the gym is huge, spanning across the entire bow on the 14th deck with excellent equipment. We ate outside the Yacht Club dining options only three times, once each at "Sacramento", the Pizza restaurant, and the Buffet. Sacramento is curious. It exemplifies MSC's lack of understanding of Americans or their food culture. All during the cruise, they promote through announcements the Mexican cuisine here, and in fact they do have burritos, Fajitas etc. yet the on ship signage promotes the Burgers and Steaks. Pictures throughout the restaurant are from what appears to be California's Gold rush era. A silly observation perhaps, but one that may cause confusion, or worse mockery by the large American contingent when the ship moves to the Caribbean in late 2014 in MSC's stated goal of attracting more US dollars. The Burgers, by the way were generous in size, but identical to what you find in European restaurants promoting USA burgers...bland, grey, flavorless pucks. 8 Euro for a large double burger, good fries and a beer. Plentiful, if not satisfying. The Pizza restaurant on the other hand was excellent! A good, 15+ pie selection, prepared with excellent ingredients in a gas fired brick oven. The pie was very good, well made with a very good, burnt in just the right places thin crust. A bargain at 5 Euro for about a 12" to 14". Great The buffet was as expected, the few items we had were not good, yet not bad, just sustenance. Walking through at least once each meal time appeared to deliver much of the same. I think it is worth calling out that every space we experienced on the ship was absolutely spotless. MSC puts a lot of effort into keeping the public spaces very clean. Even the occasional peek behind closing doors in crew areas revealed white, white, white! Nice to see. Note that this is decidedly a foreign cruise line and experience. There was but one other American couple in the Yacht Club and until we boarded the "English" bus to Rome on day 10, I can honestly say I did not hear one American dialect, and very few British. The crew all speak very good English, but you will be surrounded by passengers speaking many different languages. It was fine with us, but maybe not for everyone. The perfunctory 9:30 daily announcements in 5 different languages became a bit much however. The Yacht Club: With all that said, we must admit that public areas interaction was mostly limited to back and forth to Le Muse, the clubs exclusive restaurant. When you have access to your own pool area, lounge, concierge, and restaurant why spend time elsewhere? The Divina has a very similar configuration as the Splendida, save for fewer Yacht Club Cabins. The YC cabins that were on decks below 15 & 16 have been converted to "Aurea" Spa rooms. All of the YC facilities remain the same size resulting in what should be even more room for the remaining YC guests. And what facilities they are! The "Top Sail Lounge", on the 15th deck spans literally 180 degrees of glass across the bow. The area is very spacious, with a bar, impeccable service and excellent snacks that are refreshed throughout the day for breakfast, lunch and dinner. As with all YC facilities, well drinks, beer, wine and soda and a nice cocktail list are free. Also included is a proper afternoon tea service, very professionally done. The attention to detail across the YC, but particularly in this lounge is fantastic. The YC pool area appears the same as the Splendida, save for an awning added over tables on the bar side of the deck, a nice addition. Again, snacks are offered...and did I say the drinks are included?? This area is on the top 18th deck on the bow with spectacular views The YC restaurant, Le Muse is located, as it is on Splendida on the 15th deck on the stern. Getting to the restaurant from the YC cabins results in one of two experiences dependent on the weather. Nice out? A pleasant stroll outside across the open 15th deck. Inclement weather? A sometimes slow elevator ride to deck 6 or 7, then through the crowded bars, past the shops and the regularly packed photograph area to another slow elevator ride back up to 15. Once at Le Muse, the dining experience is mixed. The service always continues the YC theme...attentive, professional, but never rushed or fussy. They get the service right in the bars and restaurant. It was only the food early on that was hit and miss. After the first three days we were quite disappointed and not looking forward to the rest of the trip at Le Muse. But after those three days, they hit their stride and the meals improved considerably. We also learned to lean towards the Italian dishes, particularly the Pastas. Make no mistake, there is no Michelin star eminent, but it was much better with a few very good dishes along the way. The cabin, as on our last cruise was excellent. Plenty spacious and very nicely finished with a nicely stocked mini bar (all contents included in the YC price). We are very happy with the 16035 YC1 cabin. As noted before, this cabin (and its twin on the starboard side 16034) are a lot wider, but not as deep as the standard YC1 cabin. This offers a more spacious room and balcony. Of course the cabin was spotless after its twice daily service. And a new feature, your daily local newspaper is included...by early afternoon, I was delivered a full size, every page of my SF Chronicle. Awesome! A note on Butler service. On our cruise last year, the Butler was so attentive, it bordered on too much. We rarely left our room without him walking up, asking if we needed anything, escorting to the restaurant etc. He was regularly in the lounge and always at the ready. For this cruise, our Butler was MIA. We met him at embarkation as he took us to our room and that was about it! It was somewhat disappointing, but the rest of the butlers and service team all made up for his vanishing act. The service didn't lack, but it was curious. Our ports were Genoa, Barcelona, Casablanca, Santa Cruz de Tenerife, Fuchal, Malaga, Civitavecchia and return to Genoa. The only excursion we booked was a round trip bus ride to Rome that was clunky at leaving the port, but an efficient return amid the zoo that is the St Peters Square bus terminal. Smoking attracts a lot of attention around MSC on this board. It is prevalent on the ship, but inside areas are limited to the casino, the enclosed cigar room and an area of the Lounge in the Yacht Club. It is at a bothersome level only in the Casino. The Casino area does open above to a bar one deck above, and while there is no smoking in that bar, the cigarette smell is noticeable. The small smoking area in the Yacht Club lounge is somehow very well vented, not affecting the rest lounge at all. Another excellent cruise on MSC! They are definitely not your father's cruise line, and to us that is part of the appeal. If you want to be surrounded by English speaking neighbors, and feel as though you haven't left the U.S. while on board, MSC is likely not for you. The Yacht Club cost really isn't that much more in cost to a regular balcony cabin, and the included drinks alone make up much of the additional cost. If you want to splurge on the Yacht Club experience, this cruiser highly recommends it and will return. Read Less
Sail Date November 2012
This was our honeymoon, we had planned to travel RTW by plane, but my wife's back problems caused by osteoporosis meant that long-haul travel was out of the question. I found a special offer from an Italian travel agency (Falk Travel) ... Read More
This was our honeymoon, we had planned to travel RTW by plane, but my wife's back problems caused by osteoporosis meant that long-haul travel was out of the question. I found a special offer from an Italian travel agency (Falk Travel) who are linked to the supermarket group LIDL, where we do our weekly shopping. Booking: A bit of a nightmare, the Italians do love their paperwork, and Falk demanded all sorts of documents to be faxed to them (as if we were another agency with office equipment and spare time to match) at very short notice. I researched MSC on-line, and pre-booked the water, news and two excursion packages over the net. I further visited a High St travel agency to compare our "savings" and find out about parking at Genova. I joined Cruise Critic to ask about my biggest worry: paying on board with my Visa Debit card. MSC is ambiguous on both it's website and in it's brochures, saying only that "Pre-paid debit cards are not accepted" but credit cards are. I don't have credit cards, and didn't want to get one just for this trip. A further enquiry, by phone to the MSC UK call center (to avoid language problems) taught me only one thing: Mark - the call center operator that I spoke to - has no training, manners, people skills or any foreseeable future in customer relations. Embarkation: An easy drive, good car parking (not the MSC sponsored park, but a much cheaper one sourced on the web) courteous porters and not too many delays. Very unlike the experiences of less fortunate passengers, many of whom were flown from LGW to Nice (of all places!) and then they faced a long coach journey without food, drink or toilets after a flight delay of over 90 minutes. Needless to say, all the pre-embarkation check-in work had been a complete waste of time, but I found out (at this eleventh-hour juncture) that Visa and Mastercard were both accepted. Why was this not PLAINLY stated by website, brochures AND call-center cretins alike? I was now carrying 2,500 in cash which i had had to queue up for in Christmas rush banks - I was not impressed. We found our own cabin, no help offered, and were pleasantly surprised by it's cleanliness, relative spaciousness, equipment, furnishings and balcony view. We were further impressed by the availability, if not the quality, of an unexpected buffet lunch. Catering: Universally bland - even the Tex-Mex menu was only enlivened by the sparse and unimaginative use of jalapenos. Where was the garlic, onion, rich smoked salumi and herby tomato cuisine so praised by international chefs when talking about Italian cuisine? Lavish use of costly ingredients and skillful preparation and presentation was ultimately marred by catering down to a standard guaranteed neither to excite nor offend anyone. Talk about living in a "Nanny State", now we had to endure "nursery food". Our waiter was attentive, intelligent and charming, he should be in charge of training the others, who varied from inept, untrained and uncomprehending to downright rude and offensive (I cite the poolside drinks waiter who removed my drink while I was in the toilet, then said - not even sotto voce - "What a Disaster!" when I had the audacity to ask for a replacement). Passenger Services: Reception and accounting were not much better, I can only speak a few European languages: Three fluently and another four and a half in a broken manner. But if they don't want to hear what you have to say, they won't, and that's that! (NB never expect an apology, it's not in their vocabulary, in ANY language) The on-board newspaper was an (almost) endless source of amusement, I have kept them all as a teaching aid to show my students how badly the English tongue can be mangled. My Italian wife has done the same with her Italian copies: we still chortle about the Padre celebrating "Holy Mess" in the theatre. Excursions: The least said, the better. I only booked two: Casablanca and Ostia. The former was smelly, uncomfortable (spiritually & physically) and overpriced. Our guide was an Islamic Evangelist, but so modern-minded that he boasted of only having one wife. The latter trip (Ostia) was cancelled at the last minute due to lack of interest - with a little notice we could have made other arrangements, but hey! Overall: I agree with all the negative comments in the reviews of others who have endured - sorry, enjoyed MSC. The photographers are intrusive, the pricing irrational, the staff - with exceptions - poorly trained, and lacking in language skills. Many of them are Indonesian or from the former USSR - not the best linguistic heritage for working with a western European / American customer base. They are further hobbled by a company policy of regularly transferring crew members between vessels. A practice which stops the staff from ever building useful teams or esprit-de-corps. The Other Passengers: A great crowd with a few notable exceptions, cruising certainly makes it easy to make friends if you want to, and a large vessel makes it easy to avoid those who you find less than affable. I'm sure a few were avoiding me by the end of the trip. Read Less
Sail Date December 2012
This is our 3rd cruise with MSC so it can be assumed that we like there ships,their itineraries and their value for money, MSC Divina fulfilled all, albeit with a few minor niggles, but nothing sufficient to detract from the overall ... Read More
This is our 3rd cruise with MSC so it can be assumed that we like there ships,their itineraries and their value for money, MSC Divina fulfilled all, albeit with a few minor niggles, but nothing sufficient to detract from the overall experience of the cruise and the holiday. As with our last cruise with MSC this one was booked as a cruise only with air travel to and from Genoa being organised independently through British Airways finding that BA's 23kg luggage allowance provided sufficient allowance for what had been packed to see us through an 11 day cruise with a number of gala dinners anticipated with some room to spare. On arrival in Genoa it was easy to get a taxi to the port from the front of the terminal, with the charges regulated we found it cost less than 30 Euros and whilst taking a different route to that made by the local bus service to the Genoa stations it seems to be the route taken by taxis to and from the airport using a dual carriageway toll road from the airport almost directly to the port . Embarkation was as usual slightly chaotic, having been directed down a separate queue we were quickly re-directed to the back of the main single queue, despite MSC offering preferential boarding to its club members I've yet to see this actually being offered, in fact it was explained that this facility was for black card holders only, which is entirely contradictory to their stated club benefits. However, despite this annoyance boarding was relatively quick and easy. On boarding it was no surprise that the ship looked very familiar being very similar in look and style to Splendida, our familiarity proved useful as on this occasion we were not shown to our cabin but left to find our own way, which for us proved easy. An inside cabin on Deck 12 to the stern of the ship was no different to that occupied on Splendida and was satisfactory for all our requirements. Although fairly simply furnished it was sufficient for our needs, we did need to obtain an extension from housekeeping for a CPAP machine to be plugged in but this wasn't difficult to arrange. As usual with MSC the cabin was nicely kept, beds made up and turned down, towels replaced and made to look respectable every day despite our clutter. Newcomers to MSC should be aware that it doesn't offer much in the way of English speaking TV channels, Euronews being the nearest, unless your a fan of BBC Entertainment and cbeebies the bbc channel for young children! The cabin was quiet and not subject to any unusual noise or motion or smells, there was a bit of movement when in the Atlantic but other than for the use of the bow thrusters etc when maneuvering into or out port there was no significant disturbance from or awareness of the engines or propellers. I was most impressed when we met the Cabin Steward in the gangway who introduced himself and despite not seeing us come out of the cabin knew which cabin we were in, throughout the cruise Handry was brilliant and was always around with a cheery hello and good morning and shared a laugh with us every day, he's an asset MSC. It was noted that MSC appear to have changed their policy on the safety drill, as it took place prior to leaving Genoa, this seemed to go much quicker than on previous drills and was compulsory with your attendance being recorded, as usual what was slightly annoying was that not all passengers took it as seriously as they should, particularly with the still fairly recent Costa accident. A review of the cruise; The first port of call was Barcelona with a 12 noon arrival. A shuttle bus service was offered by MSC at a reasonable cost but we chose to join the queue for taxis which was fairly orderly and went fairly quickly. We took a taxi to the cable car station for around 10 - 15 Euros and took the cable car 1 way over to the harbour, it is well worth the cost of 10 Euros for a one way trip. A walk round the harbour and through town to La Ramblas where I incurred the wrath of a street performer by photographing him from a distance without paying, what a pity that Barcelona's famous street performers are not as welcoming as others as that we saw during this trip, this gold painted cowboy whistled continually to get my attention and payment. Elsewhere street performers don't demand or expect payment, Barcelona take note, this expectation will detract from the attraction. As seems usual with MSC the stop in Barcelona was limited to some 4 hours or so, what a pity for such a great city with so much to see and enjoy given the time. 2 days at sea followed, the first in the Med the second going out into the Atlantic to Madeira. Overall the Med was fairly benign, the Atlantic was calm but with a slight swell which led to some noticeable movement, nothing that I found uncomfortable in any way, more interesting! As usual when steaming along at a rate of knots there was a fair and cool wind which restricted the full use of the outdoor pools and sun decks but there were plenty of activities and locations on board to satisfy most people. Our first day at sea brought the first of our gala dinners. New Years Eve saw the second of the gala dinners, two on consecutive days, followed by our arrival in the bay of Funchal for the midnight fireworks which in a word are stunning, not only are fireworks fired from barges in the bay but also from the surrounding hills, London take note - others have pulled off your much heralded (millennium eve)'river of fire' successfully where yours didn't come off as we all expected! Having docked in Funchal we had a full day there with departure at 6pm, and on walking into town we found that a night club was not only still disgorging young celebrants but was still going strong, no fuddy duddys here then! We ignored all the taxi drivers who assured us that everywhere was closed and that there island tours where the only option, Funchal was open for business though. Funchal is a gorgeous city, the centre is compact, clean, welcoming, pretty and provided a pleasant place to enjoy a coffee and a brass band playing outside the cathedral. We walked to the cable car in town and took it to Monte, well worth visiting for the view and its church. Given the time available we didn't visit any of the gardens, the only disappointment was that the toboggans from Monte down the hill were not open and so another visit will be required. The following morning saw our arrival in a slightly damp and overcast Tenerife, up until then the weather had ranged from glorious and very warm sunshine in ports to cloudy and cool at sea, this was the first stop and first day that we needed protection from rain. As usual we explored independently and found that Tenerife was not particularly to our liking, although Santa Cruz is a obviously a shopping centre it is for that reason that it didn't float our boat. Apart from a local market which is not a tourist destination but a collection of fish, meat and fruit and veg shops and a pleasant square or two there was nothing much on offer but shops and shopping so we took a tram ride out of town to La Trinidad. This seemed as busy as Santa Cruz but it also offered a more pleasant old town with an artisan craft market, on a drizzly day it wasn't great walking round the old town but it may be nicer on a sunnier day. What I found interesting was the artisan market discovered in a square on our way back to port, well worth looking at for gifts or mementoes of a trip. Departure from Tenerife brought another gala dinner, our 3rd in 4 days, all at our table thought this was something of overkill by MSC and so was not strictly adhered to, it was also noticeable that on occasion for the gala dinners in particular there were noticeable absences from the tables surrounding us. The following morning we arrived in Casablanca and again we decided to stick with our independent exploring rather than take an organised tour or a taxi tour. If you alight in Casablanca be aware that you disembark in a working port and may have to avoid forklifts and loading trucks as we did, you should also bear in mind that to exist the port on foot involves a considerable walk. Casablanca was it was a case of set off and hope for the best. We walked into town and our first experience was a somewhat eye opening walk through the maze of alleyways and shops that made up the Medina (the Bazar Aya). Although some of what we saw in Casblanca was not what we were used to we didn't feel unsafe even wandering off the main tourist routes in order to get ourselves to the Mosque, in fact one of the surprises was coming across an entire market stopped and at prayer in the middle of the market and the road and then disappearing in all directions in a sea of people when prayers were concluded, amazing. We walked a considerable distance to find the Grande Mosque of Hassan II built jutting into the waves of the Atlantic, but the walk was worthwhile with a guided tour of the interior being offered with all nationalities being catered for by multi linguistic guides, if you make one visit in Casablanca make it the Grand Mosque; Rick's Bar which we walked past on our return journey to the port proved a disappointment and not worth making a special effort to see. The following afternoon saw our arrival in Malaga for an afternoon stop, this is much like Barcelona in that the amount of time in port was disappointing, Malaga was a great surprise being a beautiful city with lots of character and interest and nothing like the Benidorm sort of tourist resort imagined. A very warm afternoon saw us explore Malaga and in particular the inside of the Cathedral which is well worth the entry, the interior is beautiful. We found the city centre to be compact and very pleasant to walk round enjoying a buzzing atmosphere, we will be back in Malaga to explore the city and the region further as there is much more to see there. At the time of our visit the centre was full of shoppers enjoying the sales and the bars and restaurants and unfortunately we had to leave before the procession of the kings later that afternoon, what we did find though was the market set up all along the seafront. Departure from Malaga brought the final of our four gala dinners and the highlight of the flaming baked Alaska delivered as usual with music and panache. A slight annoyance at Malaga was the advertisement of a shuttle bus, what wasn't advertised was the availability of both a local service bus and a hop on hop off tourist bus within a few minutes walk of the terminal, MSC could be more helpful in providing information on all options available to passengers, particularly those not availing themselves of organised excursions. It was whilst 'queuing' - in the loosest possible sense of the word - for the shuttle bus that tempers flared among some passengers, one Italian getting himself very irate and looking close to fisticuffs, the young girls responsible the queue would be no match for irate impatient passengers if trouble broke out, MSC need to manage this situation more and ensure that queues for buses, taxis, etc are managed more and do not provide an excuse for impatient passengers to cause trouble, they should also stop their own staff from jumping the queue, on this cruise MSC staff were found to be the most adept at jumping queues to board buses. The final port of call was Civitavecchia were we spent the day wondering around town. We found it to be pleasant enough with some nice shops and a market where we bought a cheap Italian extension cable for future cruises so that was worthwhile in itself. What doesn't appear to be worth while is the tourist train which we didn't take on being told that there wasn't much to see. Our final port of call was Genoa where we found that MSC's disembarkation procedures appear to have changed to the benefit of passengers who no longer have to sit in the theatre awaiting their disembarkation, we were able to enjoy breakfast, coffee and a leisurely wander around the decks before going to our meeting point. Disembarkation itself was easy with the only point of note being the need to be aware that queuing for a taxi is not always easy with our other nationalities having different ideas as to an orderly and patient queue! Other aspects of the cruise; Itinerary - the itinerary was good, although given the coolness of the season we found that 3 sea days were bordering on too many days at sea. The ports of call rated as follows; Barcelona - great city, needs more time and a dedicated visit Funchal - very nice town, cable car a highlight, New Year fireworks were awesome Tenerife - a disappointment to us and on this showing not likely to be revisited Casablanca - an experience, one that may be repeated Malaga - great ambiance, much enjoyed, needs more time and a dedicated visit Civitavecchia - nothing special - you're better off taking the train to Rome Genoa - not to every one's taste, but worth a look if in town ahead of a cruise The weather in the main was sunny, dry and very warm, the only days that were not were the days at sea which were breezy and cool, although sunny on occasion, and Tenerife which was cool overcast and drizzly, all in all great weather. The food and restaurants - One area that did not disappoint was the food. Yes the buffet was mostly busy at lunch but we always found a table, the food offered was varied and plentiful and there was plenty of choice, although on occasion it could have been hotter, some may have a problem with melamine plates for lunch but given their service of 3000 plus it cannot really be argued with. The food offered for main dining in the Villa Rosa restaurant was varied and plentiful with 7 courses always offered from the main menu and a number of alternatives always available if none in the main menu were to your liking. I found the food to be always of good quality and always served hot, I had no problems with the food or with the waiting staff, my one issue with MSC is the use of photographers at meal times, they are intrusive and in our case extremely rude. Some people have an issue with MSC not providing free water or tea and coffee, we might expect it but it shouldn't be the major issue some make of it, if you take the trouble to visit the buffet at anytime day or night you'll find free water, tea and coffee always available, there is no requirement to pay for water or beverages on board. Entertainment- The major disappointment was the evening theatre shows which we found did not match the standards seen in other MSC ships. The entertainment team seemed non existent where as on other cruises they were in evidence in the theatre providing some pre show fun and entertainment. The shows themselves were the usual 40 minute offerings by MSC, one was a surprising 20 minutes long, hardly worth the effort of either MSC putting it on or us in making our way to the theatre! Of the shows seen the Parisian and Italian themed shows were enjoyable, the pianist I found over-rated and over-used given his headlining in two shows, the singers were good but the opera singer who had the audience on their feet in Barcelona was not to my personal liking. The Michael Jackson tribute was the best staged, although lip synched. The dancing was superb and the staging excellent. We expected more from the shows and they could have been more variety offered, they disappointed overall which is a shame as we expected more from MSC on Divina. Staff- We found the staff on board to be generally good with some exceptions being both outstandingly good and bad. The outstandingly good was Philatron a waitress who greeted us by our first names after a gap of two years since meeting her and speaking to her of an evening on Splendida, that's amazing. Also outstandingly good was the previously mentioned Cabin Steward Handry and Sery our waiter in Villa Rosa. The outstandingly bad was the photographer who whilst taking photos of our table at a gala dinner refused to take a photo of myself and my partner and I whilst taking pictures of all eight other diners at a table of nine, given that we were dressed for a gala dinner and that we wanted a photograph it surprised us that we were ignored and treated both with some ignorance and extremely rudely by what one can only hope is a rogue member of staff who has no place dealing with members of the public, MSC will be made aware of this in a formal complaint to MSC in the UK, MSC in Italy. The other area that could be improved was the ability of staff to provide information on ports and places of interest and the means of transport available to independent travellers, whilst set up to sell their own excursions it would be nice to have additional information available and not to be sold tickets for a shuttle bus when alternatives were available and were not advertised. Some ports of call with shuttle buses provided could also do with better crowd management to avoid the likelihood of arguments, the use of young ladies to manage the disembarking crowd trying to board shuttle buses in Malaga was not altogether successful when I seriously thought that fists would fly. Overall - MSC Divina didn't disappoint on most fronts, a very stylish ship, too large for some perhaps but never seeming too busy apart from on gala evenings when the communal areas mid-ships were awash with those either making their way from the first sitting ot to the second sitting. The mix of passengers on board was as usually for MSC ships, being an Italian line it is no surprise that Italians, Germans, French and Spanish were in the majority, closely followed by Eastern Europeans and a noticeably increased contingent of Brits with a fair number of Americans also on board. The on board shopping is for those with money although the duty free shop offered cigarettes at well below prices seen elsewhere both onshore and in duty free shops at ports. There are numerous bars and lounges with lots of various types of music and entertainment on offer at most times of the day and evening, the one thing it was hard to find on occasion was a quiet spot, MSC seemed to let out the library to groups some afternoons which was irritating if you wanted somewhere quiet to read. To sum up, a good cruise, an enjoyable holiday, great ports of call, most of which were new to us, the food was good and the service was as expected and surpassed. This cruise brought similar benefits to that of our previous cruise on Musica in that we were sat with friendly and amusing diners who we went on to share many evenings with on board. As with on the Musica previously we hope to maintain a friendship with new friends made on board. We would cruise on Divina again and as 3 time cruisers with MSC we would will most certainly be cruising with them again soon. We happen to be comfortable with MSC, a fact that some reviewers see as being blind allegiance to a particular line, as can be seen from my review this cruise was not without its issues but none so bad as to spoil a holiday or to prevent us from choosing MSC for another cruise. We approach our cruises with an open mind and a realisation that we get what we pay for, MSC offer style, comfort, service, good Italian food, and great itineraries on superb ships at a very reasonable price and we find that hard to be beaten by other lines. So that is my review of a cruise on MSC Divina, if you consider it blind allegiance that is fine by me but please do not criticise me on forums for making a different choice to you, after all you make your choice! Read Less
Sail Date December 2012
This was our second cruise with MSC and we mainly choose it because they offered us a great price. Before the Cruise we had a lot of contact with MSC customer services as I have a really specific diet and on the previous cruise it had ... Read More
This was our second cruise with MSC and we mainly choose it because they offered us a great price. Before the Cruise we had a lot of contact with MSC customer services as I have a really specific diet and on the previous cruise it had not been catered for. We were assured that it would be fine. When we got on board we handed the diet to Reception who knew nothing about it but said they would deliver it to the kitchens. When we went to dinner again they knew nothing about it so we had to explain it all to them. To the credit of the Restaurant than did everything they could to provide me with meals I could eat, they brought me the menu for the next night at dinner so I could say if it was ok or request something else. Everything I requested was brought to me and tasted nice. The other members of my cruise found the food to be lovely, yes at times it doesn't arrive piping hot but they are serving 3,700 people they can't get it right every time! The cabin was lovely, they come in to clean whilst you are at breakfast and at dinner. How they know when this is I will never know as they are never there when you go to breakfast and never there when you get back! They clean it so nicely and turn down the bed at night, they also left us some nice animals made out of towels. The theatre shows are fine, they are not West end ready but they are fine for something which is basically free! The Cruise director introduces the show in about 5 languages, yes, but English was always first so you could just chat through the other languages. I think people need to bare in mind this is an Italian Cruise line so to get it in English at all is lucky. Staff members are on the whole helpful. The only area we found to be awkward was reception. They problem is if you ask for something they don't write it down or tell anyone so when you come to talk about it again to someone new they have no record of what is happening. They are also quite offish, they don't seem to want to help you. I think if you have a problem speak to someone in that area e.g. housekeeping or the restaurant as they are much more likely to help you than reception. Pretty much everyone speaks very good English and they can always understand you as long as you don't embellish your sentences like we tend to do! The ship itself is always clean and tidy and there are always staff members around to help you if you need it. Finally the cost of things, drinks are expensive! They also add a 15% service charge on all drinks which are not factored in to the price on the menus but this is just the way it is. Tea and coffee are always available free in the buffet restaurant. They also add a 7 euro per person per day 'tip' for employees onto your final bill. Because we had been before at the beginning of the cruise we asked for it to be removed which they did without too much hassle. They don't allow tipping individuals which we would prefer to do and I have no idea whether that 7 euros really goes to the people who serve you. I would say that if you are easily annoyed by things such as the cost of drinks then head to a British company however if you are fine to go with the flow then MSC is really good. Read Less
Sail Date March 2013
My wife and I were fortunate enough to celebrate our 30th wedding anniversary with a lovely group of fellow cruisers. MSC DIVINA: Outstanding vessel - extremely plush and stylishly maintained to a high standard though there was a ... Read More
My wife and I were fortunate enough to celebrate our 30th wedding anniversary with a lovely group of fellow cruisers. MSC DIVINA: Outstanding vessel - extremely plush and stylishly maintained to a high standard though there was a little lateral movement, as one would expect, at the extremities of the ship. EMBARKATI0N: Venice was a bit of a scrum as anticipated from other Reviewers - but it was very well organised. I suspect 80% of guests boarded in Venice so it may be a prudent option to embark in Bari which would allow additional time in Venice which is rather more attractive location than Bari. CABIN: We were in the "cheap seats" - Inside Cabin but it exceeded my expectations, more than sufficient space dutifully cleaned. Our cabin boy was a bit elusive but that suited us. FOOD: Self service restaurant is similar to any facility you would expect on any budget cruise or All Inclusive hotel in Europe. The food within the restaurant was adequate without being particularly appetising. I understand the need to cater for the so called European Cuisine but the faire on offer was bland. This may be a ploy to direct punters towards the speciality outlets. EXCURSIONS: The one trip we fancied was cancelled due to lack of interest so we changed to a similar trip around Istanbul. Our guide was hugely entertaining but the trip was a bit over priced. I would recommend the Basilica in Bari -absolutely outstanding. I have visited a good number of religious establishments around the world over many years but this was the best I have witnessed. ENTERTAINMENT: I have experienced a more varied package. The pianists were ok. The Sports Bar only catered (understandably) for Italian guests. The evening shows were a little short but quite dynamic. Personally I considered the much vaunted Michael Jackson show to be the weakest on offer. My wife considered the various Spa Treatments but they were hugely overpriced but we did spend a hour in the sauna which was ok. ENTERTAINMENT TEAM: I didnt engage them too much but they barely took a breather and their energy and enthusiasm could not be faulted. ` STAFF: On the whole superb - aside from one miserable waitress they were invariably friendly, patient and polite. We had a couple of minor issues which were resolved efficiently without fuss at reception. DRINKS PACKAGE: We cruised with Thomsons in January 2012 and I decided against the all inclusive drinks package. Fortunately when I reviewed my bar bill I had taken the better option as the charge was approx £100 less than it would have been had I taken up the AI offer. I deliberated beforehand but purchased the package on advice of fellow reviewers. Please "Go for it" - as a moderate drinker we more than doubled the outlay. It is important to consider that Water, Tea, Coffee and all soft drinks let alone alcoholic drinks incur a charge at all the bars and restaurants . So basically unless you are tea total and wish to spend the duration of your time on board at the self service facility opt for the 23 Euro per day package. The more expensive option offers rather more but I suspect is unnecessary unless you have a discerning palate and/or a serious drink problem. NB If you do not pre-book the drinks package 21 days before embarkation you will incur the 15% Service charge that is added to all services whilst on board. This is in addition to the 7 Euro per person per day standard charge. I did question this but accepted the terms as outlined. DISEMBARKATION: Faultless - given the numbers this was extremely well organised, simple to follow but you need to make provision dependant upon your flight time. GRIPES: None really - though I do have a conspiracy theory with which fellow reviewers may concur or disagree?. The wind whilst in Bari was strong and our proposed departure was initially delayed by one hour then another hour then postponed. We eventually left port 10 hours late and didnt, as a result, dock at Katakolon. instead we spent a full day at sea. Not a problem but I do not believe climatic conditions had improved or deteriorated in the interim period and suspect as there were no passengers due to embark/disembark in Katakolon we skipped the venue for ease or financial purposes. OVERALL: My wife and I thoroughly enjoyed the cruise and were fortunate enough to meet some like minded and generous of nature people. Would I recommend MSC Cruises - Not sure as my experience is limited but - probably? Read Less
Sail Date April 2013
We were told that flights would be arranged close to our travelling date, we were informed 2 weeks prior to travel that we were outbound from Gatwick to Verona and inbound Venice to Gatwick. Not the end of the world, but be aware that you ... Read More
We were told that flights would be arranged close to our travelling date, we were informed 2 weeks prior to travel that we were outbound from Gatwick to Verona and inbound Venice to Gatwick. Not the end of the world, but be aware that you may not get a flight to a local airport. Flights were organised, along with transfers, by MSC. Gatwick was chaos!! We arrived early, but were unable to sit together. I am a nervous traveller, also being 22 weeks pregnant did not appreciate being split up from my husband. As MSC arrange flights as a large group booking, you cannot check-in online 24hrs prior. Hence, no seats together, as everyone else had checked in beforehand. Flight was ok, nothing special, food poor considering BA flight. Transfer was easy, MSC rep waiting at airport to show you to the correct bus. Summing up the embarkation to the ship, and the rest of the holiday, chaos and queues!! Queue to drop off your cases, queue to enter terminal, queue for escalators, queue for compulsory photos, very large queue to check-in and queue for security! A very long and tedious process, not helped by the apparent rudeness of the check-in staff. We were shown to a desk, the man ignored us and carried on talking to his friend. Eventually be acknowledged us and said 'yes' whilst shrugging his shoulders, as if asking what we wanted! I said we were there to check-in, he didn't really speak to us through the whole process and when finished just stood there before shooing us away with his hands!! Not the treatment I was expecting. Have to say the rest of our party arrived earlier and had a pleasant and smooth check-in. Cabin excellent! Balcony cabin, good storage, nicely sized room, good standard and quality fixtures/fittings. We had cabin 9160, great location! Just off the lifts, which went to the dining rooms, buffet and pool decks. Easy access to everything. Luckily we had a glass balcony, the rest if our family had the enclosed steel balconies which obstructed your view and sun. The decor of the ship was excellent, very surprised. Public areas very nice. One negative point - in my opinion there were not enough toilets on board and they were always dirty!! Being pregnant, I spent a lot of time back and forth to the toilets. There were so many people on board, you were always queuing. Ship felt crowded, always being pushed & elbowed by others, always queuing for something. Good luck in getting a seat in the public lounges at dinner time. We opted for 1st seating, which was 18.45, usually finished by 20.45. Second sitting was 21.15. Dining rooms were pleasant, food was average and nothing special. They made an effort with the menus, but they were generally not to my taste, I did struggle to eat anything some evenings. My Dad has Coeliac Disease, so needed to have a gluten free menu. Gluten free food is only available in the restaurants and not the buffet, this limited him during the daytime. However, the gluten free service and the quality of the gluten free food was excellent!! Made for stress free dining. Ports: Venice, Bari, Katakolon, Izmir, Istanbul, Dubrovnik, Venice. Sounded a great itinerary, but disappointing. Venice, did not see it other than from the ship & coach. Bari, not much going on. Katakolon, a single street of tourist shops. Here there were local coaches offering return trips to Olympia for €10, don't pay the MSC prices, walk to the town (5 mins) and much cheaper options. Izmir & Istanbul, we opted to remain on the ship due to the recent troubles and unrest. Dubrovnik, €12 each for transfer to the Old Town. However, step off the ship and you can get a taxi for €10 each way with 4 people in!! Dubrovnik was beautiful, but unbearably hot and packed with people. Day at sea: make sure you stake your claim to a sunbed early!! They were out at 06.00 putting towels down. Despite the rules, no-one listens and no-one removed towels whilst we were there. Dining on this day was particularly difficult. The buffet was always very busy, so we decided to use one of the restaurants instead. This proved to be a mistake. 6 of us were out on a table for 8, then 2 Austrians were also put on our table. Ordinarily not an issue, but we were all on different drinks packages and they didn't speak any English. We sat awkwardly for the duration. The orders were all mixed up, the waiter was very rude and abrupt. My mother ordered a cranberry juice, she received a green coloured drink and was told they had run out!! She did not know what the drink was and was not asked if she would like something different. Our evening dining couldn't be more different, the waiting staff were fantastic! I think it was probably hit & miss, depending on the staff. The last evening, we were told to attend a meeting to inform us about the disembarkation procedure. This was a complete waste of time, there was no information, we were just told to put the luggage tags on bags and read the info posted in our room that evening. The info advised on your disembarkation time, based on the tag colour. Be warned, you have to vacate your cabin by 07.00!!!!!!! Ridiculously early!!! Cases need to be outside your room by 02.00 and collect them the next day. We had transfers included to the airport. The info stated that our meeting time to disembark was 09.10, but our transfer time was 15.00. We asked if we could stay on the ship - No! Is there somewhere to leave our luggage? - Yes, but you have to pay for the service. The cruise terminal is a good distance from everywhere, are there any transfers to Venice for the day? - No, you need to figure it out yourself and pay for any transport! We were thrown off the ship with our luggage in the baking heat with nowhere to go and not enough money left to pay for luggage deposit/transport/drinks etc. Plus the temperature was unbearably hot and I was pregnant. MSC didn't seem bothered by that!!! I really could have cried! Also, our meeting time was 09.10, we sat for 45mins waiting before we were called. My husband spoke with the women organising the people for the airport transfers. At first they said that the earlier buses were all full, after pleading they said for us to wait. They squeezed us onto the next bus to the airport. I was very grateful!! At least we could sit in the cool, afford drinks and use the toilets at the airport. No thanks to MSC. They were happy to abandon us. You're off the ship and no longer their problem. A big thank you to the lady who did help us though. It's a real shame. The ship was lovely, the majority of staff were excellent. However, a few staff were horrendous, the ship was too busy, organisation poor, uncaring attitude. After the stress of the disembarkation I would not sail with MSC again.   Read Less
Sail Date June 2013
Myself and two kids age 16 and 21, just returned from a wonderful, 7 day Cruise onboard the Divina. There were very few Americans on board, but all of the ship employees spoke some English. My son enjoyed the teen club, Graffiti's, ... Read More
Myself and two kids age 16 and 21, just returned from a wonderful, 7 day Cruise onboard the Divina. There were very few Americans on board, but all of the ship employees spoke some English. My son enjoyed the teen club, Graffiti's, even though all the kids were from non-English speaking countries. Everyone speaks some English so he did just fine. Here are the pros/cons of our MSC Divina Cruise: PROS: We chose MSC because the ports of call were wonderful. We arrived in Istanbul and visited for several days prior to Embarkation. Istanbul is a fascinating city, Izmir as well. We loved Olympia too. Bari is quaint and easy to walk around on your own, Dubrovnik beautiful, but Venice is a bit overrated and expensive. The Ship is beautiful and spotless. Our Balcony Cabin 13185 was good sized and very clean. Our cabin attendant Andrianiaina Tovo Jean Marcellin was friendly and did an excellent job cleaning up our cabin twice a day while we were sightseeing and eating dinner. The Dining room food was delicious with different menu choices. We loved the relaxing 6 course meal. Americans get 7 coupons for water bottles at dinner but everyone else must pay for the water at 2.50E per liter. Our Dining Room waiter, Ardinata, was friendly and professional. The buffet was good too but often too crowded at peak lunch and dinner times. The buffet had free water, coffee, tea, milk all day and juices at breakfast. Shows were excellent especially the Michael Jackson Tribute, Pirate Show, and Egyptian Show. It was fun to hear the emcee greet the guests in almost every language on board. CONS: Embarkation was long and hot. We boarded in Istanbul not Venice. There were not many passengers boarding there, maybe 150. The line was long and moved slowly and the port building was not air-conditioned. It was very frustrating to start our trip this way. Maybe the Venice and Bari Embarkations are smoother. The port stops were short. Made it very rushed at each port. We did two MSC Excursions. The first, Katakolon - 'Olympia and Shopping', was very good and Olympia is worth the visit if you like ancient history. However, the second, 'Venice - Gondola Ride, St. Mark's Square Tour, and a Museum', was definitely not doable in the time at port. What made it worse was that our tour guide had English and Italian speaking folks in her group. The time spent translating into both languages wasted a lot of time. We ended up running through the Doge's Palace Museum in order to get back to tender boat to the ship. We did two private tours through 'Tours by Locals.com' at Dubrovnik and Izmir. Both guides met us at the port exit and had us back to the ship on time. These private tours were not much more expensive than the ship excursions, so I would recommend them. There was a sporadic sewage smell on our hall and in our cabin. The smell came through the air-conditioning and the crew always gave us a different reason for it. It always went away. Debarkation was confusing. Prior to the cruise, MSC in the US said if we took our own bags (since so few folks disembarked in Istanbul), we could take our time leaving. Our pickup service was not until 10:30 so we planned to leave around 10:00. Then onboard, we were told we must be out of room by 8:00. Reception then said, no, we needed to checkout of our room by 7:00. When I got upset they agreed to let us stay in our room until 8:30. We were told to pick up passports at 9:30 but the passports did not arrive on ship until 10:30. Very disorganized and unclear. Overall, I enjoyed the cruise very much and would choose MSC again. Read Less
Sail Date July 2013
This was our 1st time on a cruise having spent 2 wonderful days in Venice. The day of embarkation was not pleasant, disorganized and at times chaotic! We finally boarded at around 3pm (should have been 12.30)and to compound things even ... Read More
This was our 1st time on a cruise having spent 2 wonderful days in Venice. The day of embarkation was not pleasant, disorganized and at times chaotic! We finally boarded at around 3pm (should have been 12.30)and to compound things even more a suitcase did not arrive until 9pm. Staff on reception not at all helpful when we tried to ascertain what had happened to our luggage! However, after this the experience was great, lots to do, fantastic food but avoid the buffet as with 4,000 people on board it can be a most unpleasant experience. eating in allocated restaurants much more pleasant and waiters lovely. Do book the drinks packages they are excellent value for money and wines of good quality. Don't book excursions as expensive and much better to do your own thing. A range of options when you get off at each port as all destinations are used to cruise ships coming in. Also a great way to get to meet locals and really experience the culture rather than on an organized tour. Overall a great experience and would definitely cruise again but perhaps with different company!   Read Less
Sail Date August 2013
My husband and I are just back off the MSC Divina Eastern Med cruise. We had read all the reviews before we left but our experience was nothing bad like the reviews. We travelled without our kids so the family areas we didn't venture ... Read More
My husband and I are just back off the MSC Divina Eastern Med cruise. We had read all the reviews before we left but our experience was nothing bad like the reviews. We travelled without our kids so the family areas we didn't venture into at all. The boat is magnificence and we had a lovely balcony room on deck 12. The way the boat is done is amazing - every light fixtures on the boat is a statement piece. We loved every minute of our cruise. The staff were very helpful and the boat from top to bottom (at ALL times) was immaculate. I don't know how they kept every single area so spotless. We opted for dinner on a table of 8 and we were very lucky and had a super table. We never laughed so much and we all became good friends. We ate in the Tex Mex one night and the food was delicious. The food in the Villa Rosa was very hit and miss which was a disappointment but we found the buffet superb. We did the excursions ourselves and we didn't get out in Bari or Izmir (nothing there and a waste of a stop). The absolute highlights are Istanbul and Dubrovnik. We got up at 6:30am the morning we came into Istanbul and watched the sun rising from our balcony and the Mosques were all shimmering - its a sight we will remember forever - magic!! Dubrovnik - the boat was delayed so we only had 4 hours there and we hopped in a taxi from port and paid him 60 to bring us around the sites for 1.5hrs (well worth the money). He brought us to amazing view points and a gorgeous sleepy fishing village called Hilini and then he dropped us off at the walled city to walk around. This place is magical and will definitely return to explore it further. Highlights of the Cruise - the boat is stunning; room was fabulous, spotlessly clean everywhere; staff were great and always there to offer waiter service; entertainment is great; drinks package is great (cocktails are heaven) Negatives of the Cruise - Bari and Izmir should be taken off and give double the time in Istanbul & Dubrovnik. Its very disappointing to have so little time. We cruise the Med with Celebrity Cruises before and the stops were much longer (7am-10pm in Santorini for eg). The food was far superior on Celebrity but the gluttony on this boat was vile with obese Americans eating like pigs. As MSC is an Italian company a lot of people were Italian and German. Not too many English speaking (which was fine with us) but I never saw the gluttony on MSC like on Celebrity. I thought the ship was much nicer on MSC and very swanky with stunning swaroksi staircases and lifts. I would highly recommend MSC Divina. My advice is that you make your own Cruise. Don't get hassled by people pushing or being rude (nothing any Cruise ship can do about that). Enjoy your surrounds and where the boat is travelling you to and from. The scenery is amazing. There was great fun on the boat. There is something for everyone on the boat of all ages. The three opera ladies playing in the reception was beautiful. Read Less
Sail Date September 2013
Overall, the MSC Divina is an enjoyable ship. The ship is simply the most elegant ship we've been on, but service is where MSC seems to be lacking. The ship needs more open deck space, especially at the buffet area. There was never ... Read More
Overall, the MSC Divina is an enjoyable ship. The ship is simply the most elegant ship we've been on, but service is where MSC seems to be lacking. The ship needs more open deck space, especially at the buffet area. There was never anyplace to sit during breakfast/lunch. I'd never experienced this problem on Carnival and we were on a full ship on the Breeze in the Med last fall, so I'm pretty sure it's related to ship design or perhaps due to the fact that Europeans don't eat and clear a table as quickly as an American audience and this causes backlog in table availability. Embarkation in Venice was about on par with other embarkations we've done. Getting so many people on a ship just takes a lot of time. The ports (Bari, Katakolon, Izmir, Istanbul, and Dubrovnik) were all great destinations with something to do at every one. It's nice that the more low key Bari and Dubrovnik ports bookend the more hectic activities that are available at Katakolon, Izmir, and Istanbul. The only problem I have with the itinerary was the fact that the port times were rather short (ex. only 5 hours in Dubrovnik). I'd have rather lost a port day in Bari in exchange for longer port times in Katakolon or Istanbul. MSC excursions are well run and enjoyable if you're willing to pay for the most expensive ones. Disembarkation is a little irritating because they want you to vacate your cabin at 0700, which seems early since they don't start unloading passengers/baggage until 0830 at the earliest. Overall, a great cruise as far as the ship, cabin, and itinerary are concerned. Now, the problem that we had on the Divina centered around the service. We are Americans living in Europe, so we are used to the less personal service provided at dinner. You can expect the dinner service on the Divina to be very impersonal. We felt like the server was just there to do a job, which I guess he is, but we missed the connection that we had with our servers on previous cruises on different lines. This extended to the cabin steward and other servers as well. I realize service is a very personal thing, but we were fairly put off by the lack of service above and beyond the expectation. The major issues on our cruise that would make us choose to not sail MSC again center around the Mini Club (Kids center) and the poor dinner service. We had quite a bit of trouble just getting the proper dishes that we ordered on the cruise and were often rushed to order our entire meal mere minutes (five at most) after being given the menu. It felt like a crap shoot as to whether we would receive what we ordered or not. The Mini Club was terrible. We had booked excursions based on the availability of the Mini Club to watch our 3 year old son during the one port day in Istanbul. The MSC website is clear that Mini Club only accepts children 3 and over, and is available for port excursion days. What they neglect to inform you of is the fact that your child must be fully potty trained in order to participate and they refuse to assist in any way. So, we were forced to purchase an excursion ticket for him onboard for the full day trip in Istanbul as they wouldn't refund our excursion that we had already purchased. Now, I understand that policies are what they are and the reasoning behind the policy (molestation liability, etc.) but I would have greatly appreciated MSC explaining the entire policy on their website up front so we could have planned accordingly. Additionally, when we did take him and our daughter to the Mini Club on the sea day, they weren't welcoming to our son (he cried out of apprehension in the new environment and they chose to simply ignore him) and the staff neglected to explain directions to our daughter in English, even after asking to be spoken to in English (a language they support, by the way). So, our son didn't participate at all and our daughter was not interested in returning after the two hours she spent there. I would definitely state the Carnival's Camp Carnival is much better because they will assist with bathroom visits and actually try to welcome the child. Unless your child speaks Italian, they may not do well in MSC Mini Club. Conclusion-Great ship and itinerary. Thoroughly enjoyed most parts of the cruise, but the lack of quality service at dinner and the Mini Club would make us choose another line in the future. If you don't have kids, I would definitely recommend. Read Less
Sail Date October 2013
We sailed on the Divina a few weeks ago. The ship is beautiful and huge. We have sailed with Holland Amer, RCL, Celebrity,and NCL but not MSC before. A few things we noticed: People smoke everywhere. Not used to that in North America. Very ... Read More
We sailed on the Divina a few weeks ago. The ship is beautiful and huge. We have sailed with Holland Amer, RCL, Celebrity,and NCL but not MSC before. A few things we noticed: People smoke everywhere. Not used to that in North America. Very few english speaking passengers so a very multicultural experience which we quite enjoyed. Embarkation was chaotic and took much longer than it should have. The cafeteria was always crazy busy so we ate in the dining room almost every meal. Because you are in port for such a short time, we always had time to eat there. The food was very good and we found the service to be very good. Our cabin was fine, as spacious as expected and very clean. The evening shows were very good particularly the can can, pirate, opera, and Michael Jackson. We were surprised by how much we enjoyed them. The reason for the cruise was the ports of call for us. Bari was fine, a nice walk about and a little shopping. Interesting to see the tomb of St Nicholas. Katakalon was our gateway to Olympia and we enjoyed it. Izmir allowed us to see Ephesus and that was amazing. Istanbul was fantastic. Wish we had a week to spend there. We also loved Dubrovnik. Could easily go back there. We did not book any tours with the ship, we did them on our own, prebooking private tours that were very convenient and less expensive. It was a very nice cruise for a very reasonable price. Read Less
Sail Date October 2013
There's no denying that the Divina is a beautiful ship, but MSC needs to offer more than a just pretty face if they hope to make it on this side of the pond. I realize they are fairly new to this market and that they have a few kinks ... Read More
There's no denying that the Divina is a beautiful ship, but MSC needs to offer more than a just pretty face if they hope to make it on this side of the pond. I realize they are fairly new to this market and that they have a few kinks to work out. We hope that they take their passengers comments and reviews seriously, because they really need to make some quick adjustments if they want to survive in this market. All in all, we did enjoy our cruise and hoped that the “Mediterranean Lifestyle” that MSC promotes would really set it apart. However, our experience was not really that different from the other mainstream cruise lines we sailed on. The most noticeable differences were the large number of passengers of different nationalities and the absence of urinals in the mens restrooms. So, let's begin with the positives. Embarkation was fast and efficient. We got through the terminal and on the ship in about 45 minutes. Most of the staff we encountered were cheerful, friendly and helpful, especially customer relations. The room steward did a fairly good job of keeping the cabin neat, but fell a little short when it came to providing clean glasses. The shower had split doors that opened into the shower, so it created some additional space in the bathroom. There were very few announcements. They had live music all over the ship, with the exception of the theater. The shows were actually pretty good. They were decent productions, with above average talent and nice sets. I think for most people, that dining is one of the most anticipated experiences on a cruise, and in this arena, MSC really faltered. As far as the buffet goes, the choices were plentiful, the cold food was cold, the hot food was hot and the service was actually pretty decent. The breakfast in the buffet was typical, however there wasn't an omelet station. At lunch and dinner it would get very busy, so we went there during off hours and avoided the crowds. FYI: only wine and beer is served in the buffet, if you want a mixed drink, you'll have to go to a bar to get one. The staff won't bring one to you. The main dining room experience left a great deal to be desired and the service was short of abysmal. We had the second seating and the first seating always ran late. As a result, there were crowds of people in the hall and on the stairways waiting to get into the dining room. When the doors finally opened, there was a stampede of people rushing into the dining room all at once. It was not a pleasant experience and as the cruise proceeded, there were fewer and fewer people coming to dinner. While most of the dining room waitstaff were pleasant, the service was incredibly slow and disorganized. They are way understaffed and although they really tried their best, they just never got it together. As a result, we spent a minimum of 2-1/2 to 3-1/2 hours for dinner service and 1-2 hours for lunch. Unlike most other cruise lines, the waitstaff never really learned the diners preferences. Also, they never cleared any extra glasses from the table, nor removed any empty ones. This happened at both lunch and dinner. For instance, at lunch one day there were 6 people at the table, but there were18 glasses. Maybe it's an European thing? I realize that the subject of food is quite subjective and while we never went hungry, the quality of the food was somewhere between just fair and decent. We never ate anything worth writing home about. And unfortunately, if you like beef, you're probably going to be sorely disappointed. I don't know if something got lost in the translation, but one night they offered what the menu called “beef fillet”, but what was served was 2 thin slices of beef with gravy. One night, the lamb we were served was so overcooked that we couldn't eat it. And, no one else at the table could eat theirs either. The lobster was also way overcooked and was dry and chewy. Seriously, it took two waiters to remove the meat from the shell. I'll admit it, I did eat the lobster, because even tough lobster is better than no lobster. Now onto lunch in the main dining room. I ordered what the menu described was a Reuben sandwich, but what I was served was a slice of Pastrami on toasted white bread with cheddar cheese, no sauerkraut or thousand island dressing. And, this was not an isolated incident as we saw the expressions of others that were served “Reuben” sandwiches. My guess is they called it a Reuben because that was the name of the guy who made the sandwiches. Lunch service was also very inconsistent. One day the service was efficient and friendly and the next day it was incredibly slow and downright rude. For instance, one day at lunch, after waiting 20 minutes for our food arrive, we politely asked our server when our order might be ready and his reply was “if we wanted fast food we should have gone to the buffet”. I mentioned to him that his reply wasn't going to sound very good in a review. He was completely unconcerned. Oh well. I didn't review the Eately Italian restaurant or Steakhouse because we didn't eat there. Why? When we went to check them out, the steakhouse looked like a school cafeteria or fast food restaurant with rows of small square tables and plastic chairs. The Italian restaurant was slightly more sophisticated having round tables with white table cloths, but yet again more plastic chairs. Not exactly the kind of ambiance one would expect of “upscale”dining and we certainly weren't enticed to dine there. Apparently, no one else was either. Every time we passed by them they were empty. OK. Now that I'm through with our dining experiences let's move onto the few other observations. First off, there is no adults only pool. There is an adults only sunning deck available, for a charge. They have very few English language TV channels and zero music channels. Children are allowed everywhere, and I mean everywhere, in all of the bars and lounges and at all hours. Maybe it's just me, but I find it difficult to relax in a lounge and enjoy the music played by an ensemble while several children are running, screaming and bouncing on the banquette next to me. Also, the way that the ship is designed the traffic flow goes through almost all of the bars and lounges. Consequently, people were constantly walking through and passing right in front of the stages during performances. Disembarkation was utter chaos. We chose self disembarkation and, at first, it seemed like MSC had it well planned. We received colored and numbered tags to attach to our luggage and instructions giving the time and place to exit the ship. That's where any semblance of organization ceased. When we arrived at our designated area the crew was directing people to go and wait inside the lounge. After waiting for about 45 minutes in a packed, standing room only lounge, for some unknown reason, an announcement was made that disembarkation would commence on the opposite side of the lounge. So, the people that arrived first, and were closest to the exit and presumably at the front of the line were now at the back of the line. As you can well imagine, there were many people that were not pleased and tempers were flaring. It was getting downright ugly. Thankfully, the crew did the smart thing and stepped aside to let the people that were closest to the exit off the ship first. In closing, MSC has a nice product, but having a pretty ship won't be enough to keep attracting customers. As I said before, we did enjoy our cruise with MSC and in spite of the the numerous problems in the dining room the rest of the cruise was enjoyable and most of the crew were very pleasant and professional. However, I don't think we'll be sailing with MSC again anytime soon. We'll wait and see if they improve. I hope they do.   Read Less
Sail Date November 2013
The Divina is a beautiful ship. I like the staterooms. In the staterooms I especially like the folding shower doors that give extra room when you're not in the shower. Departure from Venice was very unpleasant. You have to walk, ... Read More
The Divina is a beautiful ship. I like the staterooms. In the staterooms I especially like the folding shower doors that give extra room when you're not in the shower. Departure from Venice was very unpleasant. You have to walk, dragging your luggage from the people mover to the ship. Thank goodness it wasn't raining! It's about one mile... honestly a mile. Regarding the food I always found something I liked. The "Ethnic" corner was a go to place to tasty dishes at lunch time. At breakfast, it's basic. There wasn't any fresh pineapple, and there were canned fruits everyday. And, someone has got to tell the chef that both baked beans and baked apples actually need to be baked! In both cases they were passed by the front of an oven. Dinner upstairs in the buffet is basically the same every day with really minor changes. MSC wants you in the dining room. Many passengers were upset that MSC canceled a scheduled stop in Nassau so they could have a publicity stunt with Fiat 500 cars, and have a travel agent inspection day. There was typical MSC confusion (everything goes to Sorrento, to Geneva, back to Sorrento, to Miami, and then back to Sorrento all over again) regarding the canceled day. Some passengers got off, some didn't. Everything was last minute and completely confused. But, MSC saved the worst until the last minute. After the big good-bye production on stage, after the helicopters in Miami, and after we filled out the questionnaires, MSC forgot to offload the luggage... Yes, that's right, they didn't have the luggage on the dock, it was all still on the ship in the morning. There was chaos in the luggage hall. People standing around, no luggage. Local staff could only say that they had never seen anything like this. Absolutely NO MSC staff anywhere! Luggage was coming out with all the colors on all of the carousels. People who got off first were still waiting for their luggage THREE HOURS LATER. And, I might add that's three hours of STANDING AND WAITING, for their luggage since there was no place to sit. Some passengers were telling local staff that MSC could send their luggage since they were not going to miss their flight. I waited over two hours for my luggage, which came off on the wrong carousel. I like MSC but this certainly left a very bad impression. Read Less
Sail Date November 2013
I have previously sailed on Carnival and Celebrity. Had a porthole on Carnival and a Balcony on Celebrity. We arrived at the Port of Miami on a coach and was literally yelled at by the luggage porter for not having tags. Our tour operator ... Read More
I have previously sailed on Carnival and Celebrity. Had a porthole on Carnival and a Balcony on Celebrity. We arrived at the Port of Miami on a coach and was literally yelled at by the luggage porter for not having tags. Our tour operator told us we would receive them at the port. I guess it was too much work to get them out of his pocket and write our cabin numbers on them. Nevertheless we tipped excessively to make sure our bags would be properly handled. Not MSC's fault but still a very poor first interaction. -BOARDING We managed to get through the checkin line and board the ship very quickly. It was just about noon and was delighted to find our cabin ready. We then headed up to the buffet which was immense and well stocked with great food. But that would be the last time it would look like that. -BUFFET The buffet for breakfast and lunch was decent to downright subpar. Dinner which starts at 630pm was the biggest disapointment. All the meat was cooked beyond dry. Sometimes the salad bar didnt have lettuce only cabbage. Not to mention the way it was setup caused confusion for the flow of traffic. There are lots of staff walking around clearing plates. There is a bar menu on each table but you have to ask someone to get items for you they never offer. There is also a selection of self service free drinks. For an Italian cruise line the pizza and pasta are barely ok. -DINING ROOM In the dining room there is either early (630p) or late (830p) seating. 830pm is kind of late for me so we often had pizza at the buffet before dinner and often after dinner when we disliked the food we were served. The lobster was edible and some spinach/mushroom patties were very good. The steak and salmon was bad enough that I didnt want to finish it. Overly salty broccoli and cold mash potatoes were other dislikes. The service was just fine. Courses were served at a good pace for us. Our assistant waiter remembered I drank Pelligrino the day before, and tried to make small talk. I was amused one night when our waiter scrapped the bread crumbs off the table onto the floor and my leg. I did see tables for two but have no idea how that could be arranged. -CASINO I did very well at the casino. The staff was friendly. I never saw a cocktail server the entire time I was there. Your room key/on board card can be used to get money at the slot machines and no tranaction fees. -LAUNDRY SERVICE I selected the express service 20 items for $40 in by 9 out by 5. I followed their ridicoulous procedure of taking the express form to the reception desk and then having someone else pickup the items at the cabin. The items were returned 2 days later after two phone calls and a visit to the service desk. To add insult to injury some of the shirts were just pressed and still dirty. At least they adjusted the price to the non-express service ($25). -ENTERTAINMENT Typical cruise ship stuff. I saw two shows Wonderland which was awesome and then a(n) ABBA tribute band which was downright awful. I am biased though. I dont care for ABBA. -EXCURSIONS I enjoyed the ports even though I had a been there done that attitude. Falmouth has nice port but dont go out the gates except on a ships excursion. We ended up in a taxi for a $20 tour, there isnt anything worth seeing in Falmouth IMHO. All the vendors are selling the same tourist doo dads. They did call you to come over but no one walked up to you. In Cayman we did the Tour and Tiki beach . Enjoyable. Tendering to shore in the ships lifeboats was not particulalrly enjoyable It was crowded, rough, and hot but we lived. In Cozumel we did the Fury Catamaran. For $55 you ride the catamaran with free beer and margaritas, snorkel for a short while and have about 1 hour at a private beach with more free beer and margaritas. Made with fresh lime juice the maragaritas were great. Stirup Cay was wonderful. Full size open air boats tendered to the island. Free lunch (burgers burnt outside and raw in the middle) was prepared in typical MSC fashion on the island. I booked the waverunner tour which ended up over an hour delayed ( 5 to 10 minutes at a time) but was so enjoyable it cancelled any ill feelings i had about waiting so long. -IN SUMMARY I am very unlikely to book another MSC cruise again. The food is mostly subpar in the buffet and dining room. The specialty restaurant wasnt enticing and I wasnt willing to take the chance. This is direct contrast to Celebrity specialty restaurants which are appealling and impressive. The staff on MSC seemed amatuer although pleasant enough. Many other reviews say how beautiful and clean the Divina is. I found Carnival and Celebrity just as beautiful and clean. Then there is talk about how Americans just arent used to European style service. The MSC Divina experience is subpar to other cruise lines. Read Less
Sail Date November 2013
Divina...November 2-20....Trans Atlantic...Venice to Miami This was our second cruise with MSC....first one a 14 day New England to Quebec City...and this one an 18 day repositioning from Venice to Miami.....right off I must say that ... Read More
Divina...November 2-20....Trans Atlantic...Venice to Miami This was our second cruise with MSC....first one a 14 day New England to Quebec City...and this one an 18 day repositioning from Venice to Miami.....right off I must say that “we WOULD sail again with MSC ”..that statement is for those who think that any sort of criticism is bad-mouthing the company and its ships.... We had just finished two 7 day B2B’s on the Splendour of the Seas...RCCL around Greece, Croatia and Turkey....that ended on Nov 2 so had fresh memories to compare things between RCCL and MSC....it was our first time on RCCL The Ship and Demographics..... The ship was almost sold out....apparently it had been heavily marketed in Europe and Turkey for a cruise with air package.....so according to the front desk and CD there were over 900 Swiss/Germans and 700 Turks and the rest from all over Europe and Britain....a minority were the 100 Canadians...most from a package from Sunquest...200 or so from Australia...a package with air and Las Vegas...their package was interesting as it included the 7 days before this cruise, the 18 days and then the 3 day intro with all the travel agents from USA..... and lastly perhaps 75 from USA...(an Australian review would be very interesting to read as it would highlight three different cruises on the same ship) The ship is beautiful and fairly well laid out.... deck #7 allows you to go from one end of the ship from the Black and White Lounge area in the aft to the Theatre at the bow....the others go part way so you have to go up or down stairs to deck 7....there was no way to go to the bow of the ship outside unless you were a Yacht Club customer...this is kind of a negative as it is nice to go to the bow area ......the ship is spotless and well maintained....could not believe the number of crew members we saw cleaning all times of the day and night....they also appreciated a comment that showed some interest in what they were doing...ie vacuuming, polishing, cleaning windows...etc....the bars and lounges were well designed and packed at night with lots of entertainment....each lounge had a band or singer night after night for listening pleasure and dancing if you wanted.....there were 17 of them.....probably too many but with 4000 passengers you have to have places to go at night......pools in the day were crowded as the weather was hot and sunny....far too many people would get up early...stake out their loungers, put out their orange towels and leave....and come back hrs later... it was like a contest to get the best positions...for 18 days the same people were in the same spots....the pools were nice and warm and filled with salt water....after the whole day of use the water was not as clear as in the AM....suggestion is to change some of the water as the day goes on.......currency on board was in US$....which came into effect the day we boarded...so some strain on the staff to adjust so fast....casino went from Euro to $ also....some machines still had the Euro symbols....a fun place but we thought the slots were tight......gratuities were the least expensive at $8 per day....we had a Cruise Critic group and had some meetings...if you do some digging you can find comments about that process.....Andre, the new Assistant Cruise Director attended the meetings and was very candid....which was a good thing.... Ports... Venice, Malta, Malaga, Madeira, St Maarten, St Thomas, San Juan, Puerto Rico and supposedly (Nassau) which was exchanged for an extra day in Miami....we loved all of them....sunshine, hot, and interesting places, easy to move about and sightsee....our favourite was probably Madeira....beautiful location...did the Hop–on, Hop-off bus for an overview of the area, the gondola up the Monte, then lunch and a leisurely walk about the main part of town and back to the ship.....never took a ship tour in any of the ports as we did our own thing which was very easy...most of these ports you could just walk off the ship and were right in the middle of things..... Cabin We had an aft balcony cabin....11266....quite large, full sized couch, queen bed, flat screen 24”, desk area, fridge....(mini bar), nice sized bathroom with glass/plastic doors for shower, robes, two large closets, balcony with two loungers, two chairs and a table.....excellent to while away the 18 days.....cabin steward gave great service and did little extras for us....we liked chatting to him and he appreciated it....we kept getting fruit bowls...who knows from where as there never was a note....there was a slight problem with the balcony...if you do some research you can find out why as it was under the aft pool.....there was hardly any rumble from the engines.....so fairly quiet........and no loud neighbours......sometimes smelled smoke in the hallways but apparently some nationalities were not told about the new smoking rules....signs for no smoking showed up on the balcony door two days before the cruise ended....... Dining We had fixed seating at 6pm (don’t like to wait until 8:30) in the Black Crab....deck 6....table for 6 by a window in the port aft section of the restaurant.....great table mates.....two from Belgium and two from Ontario....looked forward to going to dinner each night as had so many nice chats and laughs....sometimes this makes the cruise in our opinion.......our waiter and assistant were fantastic.....after a few days the wine, water, bread, etc was always waiting for us when we arrived......service was off and on but no fault of the waiters....it was due to back-ups and problems in the kitchen, new menus and new ways of doing things......ice water was available at the table (something new).....as we were from NA we had free vouchers for bottled water, gas or no gas....so we used them up....a nice perk...(at $3.25 natural or $4.75 for San Pelligrino) ..and shared the water with our new friends from Belgium....they thought that was great.....we had the NA wine package of 7 bottles for $85....very nice house wine.....Trebiano Rubicon and Grillo Tratt....both white.....(there are also two reds and one rose to choose from )...buy before you go on the cruise and save the service charge....also had the NA beer package at $52 for 14 bottles or cans... had the odd MGD 16oz...cost at $5 each in the bars and restaurants....Food....well that is always subjective.....in our humble opinion it was fine....when compared to RCCL which we had just come off for 14 days, we felt the food and variety was better on MSC....you could have 5 or more courses each night.....appetizer, soup, salad, pasta, mains, dessert.....who would starve?....food preparation was usually good but you could never tell....if we did not like it just asked for another course and got it really fast.....gelatto was always available for dessert so would usually order a dessert and gelato....super......beef could be ordered by cooking style now....rare, med-rare, etc....previously you could not do that.....and cuts were thicker.....had lobster one gala dinner....nice and ordered the steak also to go with it......delicious....we never starved.....Breakfast in the buffet was hectic but lots of choice.....however, the stations never changed for the whole cruise.....major problem was that fresh fruit was only at the front station which was quite the hike from the back of the buffet...... better to have a quiet breakfast in the dining room.....service was fast.......Lunch in the buffet....again hectic....and repetitive.....we started eating in the dining room as was more civilized......most stations had the same stuff day after day....there was an ethnic station and things did change there..... salad was only in the front station....again a major flaw in the design.....they should have had a mirrored design front and back....would clear up many problems as most people were rushing back and forth.....so for 18 days all was fine....the staff tried hard with all the new menus and serving style....and yes....we had coffee each night with our dessert....waiters got into the flow and got the coffee cups ready as dessert was served....never went to the pay eating venues...mostly they were empty....MSC never had any outside eating areas or barbecue which was too bad as the weather was great each day....perhaps they will do that later on the Caribbean cruises.... Entertainment I think the shows were geared to an audience that speaks different languages.... hence no comedians, English production shows etc......mainly impressive visual shows, dancing, acrobatics, juggling, physical stunts etc. with names such as “Billy Bones”, “Wonderland”, “Mime Mix”, “Il Sole Mio”, “Elvis Tribute”, “Starwalker”, “The Best Of”, “Frank Sinatra” ...some were loud and impressive with costumes and activities.....the best one that we liked was “Starwalker” which was a take on Michael Jackson music and dancing.....the theatre holds 1670 people on three levels.....so really no problem getting a seat....arrived sometimes 5 minutes before the show at 9pm.....they did two shows usually, one for late seating and one for early seating.....Introductions by the CD took forever as they repeated things in 5 languages and then sometimes 6 for all the Turks.....I wonder if they will just stick to English for the Caribbean ones. The Black and White lounge was the hub of activity after the shows....with the Entertainment/Animation crew doing their stunts.....each bar also had music...really liked the couple that sang in “La Luna”.....Shops and Shopping......lots of them...most we have ever seen on a ship.....even a candy store.....final thoughts....well for five days in a row we also had “Opera Shows”....good for some but the theatre was half empty....and the big production shows had the same stunts but with different music and costumes.....so lost some of the thrill after seeing the same thing over and over.....as there was no TV for several days there was no entertainment or news in our staterooms...some problem due to the change-over of satellite feed from Europe to North America...should have been addressed sooner than it was On/Off Great embarking in Venice....dropped off our tagged luggage and checked in....on ship in probably 15 minutes....MSC had this port down pat.....Miami....well another story.....perhaps there were problems as it was the first time...but....we were to be off the ship at 8:45 to pick up luggage but were still waiting for it 2 and half hrs later.....lots and lots of unhappy customers missing planes etc.....major concern....did not see one MSC officer trying to help out and explain the problems...I think they were getting ready to have the 3 days of Travel Agents aboard..... .....only people about were the Port of Miami helpers and employees...mainly women.... and I felt sorry for them...they did their best Summary We had a good cruise....great dinner mates, nice table location, good wine, fantastic weather for 18 days, interesting ports of call, and a new, well looked after ship.....and the food...well no one would starve....there was always something to eat and if it was not what you expected or felt was not up to snuff, just order another dish......and excellent service from our waiters and cabin steward.....what can you want! Sure there were minor/major glitches depending on your point of view...organizational skills of the senior management, luggage problems, lack of information, having to call 4 different head offices before someone could make a decision, chaos at the buffet at times, loud multi-language announcements, few English books in the library, pool lounger hogs, dropping Nassau without giving a reason, misinformation as no one really knew what was going on at times. All in all we will remember the great time as the positives outweighed the negatives. We hope MSC will address the issues that caused concern and upset for many of the passengers and succeed in the North American market. As a line they cannot put their image ahead of the things that most passengers expect. A case in point would be the fantastic arrival in Miami with helicopters, fireboats, “Fiats” and Diva sunglasses followed the next day by the disembarkation and luggage retrieval fiasco. That left most people with a bad taste and that was unfortunate as the last thing they remember of the cruise..... Thanks for reading....   Read Less
Sail Date November 2013
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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