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Sail Date: February 2019
We had a wonderful experience on the Divina. Our servers in the dining room were so fun and courteous that we only missed one night with them. They shared stories about their on board life as well a their homeland. We were I the Villa ... Read More
We had a wonderful experience on the Divina. Our servers in the dining room were so fun and courteous that we only missed one night with them. They shared stories about their on board life as well a their homeland. We were I the Villa Rossi MDR and our servers were Cosme and Eric. The food choices some nights were difficult to make. We booked a balcony Fantastica room and were pleasantly surprised by its spaciousness. We were very surprised that theroom was cleaned two times per day and the bed turned down at night - nice touch. We did not get the drink package and were more than okay having 12 drink tickets each. We could have whatever beer we wanted and they honored the tickets for frozen drinks. I have a lot of respect for the "abuse" the bar staff took from guests. A lot of guests were so impatient and unsympathetic towards the staff that it made me very sad. I pulled a few staff aside and gave then words of encouragement. MSC does need to hire more staff. We also appreciated the attempt by staff to control the lounge chair situation and removing towels after 30 minutes of non-use. The Divina is very clean and sparkly. What surprised us was how quiet the ship was at night. Compared to how many people were aboard, there was hardly anyone in the bars. We thought it would be loud and quite the party going on. We find it very relaxing. The entertainment staff went out of their way to entertain. They were always high energy and had a smile for you but weren't pushy to participate. I loved that you could get professional pictures taken with various backgrounds. The photographers were great and made you feel comfortable. Over all, we had an excellent time and would choose MSC again Read Less
Sail Date: February 2019
This was our third time on the MSC Divina. As always we were pleased with our cruise. We were pleased enough with our cruise that we gave deposits towards a future cruise. Some differences that we noticed...MSC has changed some of the ... Read More
This was our third time on the MSC Divina. As always we were pleased with our cruise. We were pleased enough with our cruise that we gave deposits towards a future cruise. Some differences that we noticed...MSC has changed some of the packages and ways of doing business. Some changes were positive but some were less interesting. Nothing major to report or complain about but we did hear rumors that MSC would be eliminating the "kids sail free" program. That would be a major disappointment if that happens and would impact our decision making process in choosing a cruise line. One of the highlights of the cruise was seeing familiar faces on board and the customer service. Carlos from the entertainment team is always a pleasure and so was seeing the main waitress (sorry I don't remember her name) from the sports bar. We were especially pleased to see and chat again with the event manager, Mohamed, as his service is second to none. Assets like Mohamed are one of the main reasons why we keep coming back to MSC. One word of advice for the cruisers considering MSC...MSC still remains in purgatory as they try to penetrate the North America market but hangs on to it's European roots. Very diverse culture of clients that doesn't necessarily impress some Americans. The food, feel, entertainment and culture onboard is very European and we noticed that many people tend to prefer familiarity of a U.S. based/themed ship. IMO MSC needs to be more forthcoming and advertise that they're a European themed cruise so that the American clientele is not surprised when they're onboard. Read Less
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Sail Date: February 2019
Family advised to try this cruise line. Everything went very smoothly getting on and off ship. The food was fantastic. Menu items included Mediterranean entries which made a great time to try something different and I was not ... Read More
Family advised to try this cruise line. Everything went very smoothly getting on and off ship. The food was fantastic. Menu items included Mediterranean entries which made a great time to try something different and I was not disappointed. Wait staff were very attentive to all our needs from the customer service to Wilfred our cabin attendant. All the staff were very friendly. Wally in entertainment kept us happy, Cahya and Kumar at our dinner table were the absolute best. The staff taking drink orders and the bartenders definatly kept us entertained. We had an absolutely wonderful time. The ship is beautiful and should definatly cruise this line again. Family members who cruised this line before highly recommend us to take this line and I'm so glad we did. The staff from the captain to the wait staff were all extremely friendly and would go out of their way to make our cruise the best. Thank you. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2019
I choose this cruise for myself (single 55 year old male), my 24 y/o son and 21 y/o daughter because it scheduled well around her college spring break and we could all handle a 10 night getaway...we flew in from three places Thursday ... Read More
I choose this cruise for myself (single 55 year old male), my 24 y/o son and 21 y/o daughter because it scheduled well around her college spring break and we could all handle a 10 night getaway...we flew in from three places Thursday morning February 21st (all excited and a bit apprehensive about such an immersive family experience) and flew back to our respective places Sunday March 3rd wondering where all the time went and having had an amazing trip together. Who knows when we'll all be in the same place again for that long?! It was very special and memorable. The 10 night itinerary is perfect. I love the two initial sea days and have been to the eastern and western Caribbean on multiple cruises so like that we just steamed southeast. We met great people and settled in to our new home. Two sea days on the way home is also a perfect way to unravel the prior days. We met people from around the world: straight and gay couples; large and small groups, single guys travelling together with women, other guys, family and alone; single women travelling with other women, men and family. 30somethings to 80somethings and every age in between. A pair of really fun 33 y/o Canadian couples were our pool/party buddies most afternoons and we heard no less than six languages around us at any time. There were many repeat MSC cruisers and a surprisingly high number of repeat/frequent Divina cruisers. I've been on Seaside twice (February 3, 2018 and February 2, 2019) so I've learned MSC is an international crowd (refreshingly so most of the time), the food is overall great and it is as or more professionally operated as Royal, which is the only other line I've frequented. We all found things to do and people to talk to, reconvening for dinner in the dining room eight of the 10 nights. More on that later. MSC Divina is a beautiful ship. I was forward portside oceanview room 8005. My kids were midship starboard interior room 8194. I had Wellness package and no drink package. I drank what I wanted and paid at the end. I heard many people talk about getting drink packages as free upgrades, even balconies as free upgrades so I will be asking for upgrades when I book in the future. We spent a lot of time at the Garden Pool. We choose there because it overlooks the stern and the ocean/water is so close and hypnotic. You also avoid all the social announcements, dance classes, sexy man/woman, BINGO, etc., going on midship at the big pool. Shhh...it's an amazingly quiet, secret spot. Even though all of us are repulsed by cigarette smoke there was virtually no lingering smoke from the Garden Bar smoking area, which is on Deck 15 right next to the Garden Pool. We staked out spots on the wooden decking, got buckets of Red Stripes (well I did anyway) and didn't bother fighting over a chaise lounge. BTW they were mostly gone by 8, scarce by 9 and gone by 10. And staying on Deck 15, we'd get ready for dinner and meet there for an aperitif...live music, stars/sunset and really no smoke bothering us. SMOKERS: this is your spot! There is also a very nice Cigar Lounge with decent cigars for sale onboard. There are far better cigars for sale in the Mini Mall, which you can then bring into the Cigar Lounge. BRING a lighter (safely and legally of course) as it can sometimes be very hard to find an extra flame onboard. The ship has many unique areas, which allow music, dancing, social activities, kids activities, etc. to be going on in one area without dominating the other areas. I'd spent time gazing at deck plans and getting ready for "my turn" so I'd picked the pool and staterooms we'd hang out at. I tried to make advance reservations at Eataly but was told it was sold out. I had no problem making a reservation once onboard. We ate there Sunday night and it was above expectation although with small portions of pasta. The MDR was also above expectation. We enjoyed the menus, food, flexibility, quality of service and personalities of our service staff, beverage service, decor and people watching. Be prepared and plan ahead...if you have an 8:30 dinner like we did (too late for me), see the 7PM show (not me...I won't miss sunset...we all did our own thing before dinner) because dinner lasts until 9:30/9:45ish. We didn't find any dish in the MDR or buffet we didn't eat due to flavor or poor quality. Our conclusions: too much and too good to say no. The ship shows some signs of wear and tear (carpet in hallway was worn, edging around hot tubs is worn, etc.) so you'll see some things to complain about in that regard. However, it was was sparkling clean and everything worked all the time. Everything. Both cabins were better than expected and cabin service was personalized, friendly and helpful. We carried luggage on and off so em/debarkation were non-events. Wait here, queue there, just relax. It won't leave without you. We actually had breakfast at the buffet and sat in the sun for an hour on Sunday before leaving the ship so it helped extend our vacation a bit. Hard to think of any complaints but I guess it's only fair so here we go: no comedy show. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: January 2019
Bought this in May, with a $198 deposit, a Memorial day special with free drinks and balcony. We had a great cabin 8230 on Deck 8 without lifeboats blocking our view. We were also near the elevator that we would used late at night coming ... Read More
Bought this in May, with a $198 deposit, a Memorial day special with free drinks and balcony. We had a great cabin 8230 on Deck 8 without lifeboats blocking our view. We were also near the elevator that we would used late at night coming down from the Black and White Lounge. Transportation is not at problem from Fort Lauderdale and back from the Miami port. Cost is $38 for Uber or $20 per person with the shuttle one way. Just walk off the ship, the shuttle drivers are there with signs for FLL. We do not stay in Miami for I feel and like FLL.. more fun at the beach bars in Hollywood. MSC has a match points program with the other cruise lines so I was given all the great perks and also my cabin mate. I did not have one bad meal or service in the Black Crab. Even the buffet is excellent except some items that should be near the entrée are not. Best to scot out where everything is so you can hopefully have hot food. Entertainment was excellent even got to see an OPERA, This is my 3rd cruise with MSC and will continue to cruise with them... if the price is right. Only took one tour other one was on our own. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2019
This was the 30th Anniversary of our "Friends and Family Annual Winter Caribbean Cruise". There were 24 of us. Our 3rd time on MSC and the 2nd on the Divina. We were on last winter and the dining experience was "OK", ... Read More
This was the 30th Anniversary of our "Friends and Family Annual Winter Caribbean Cruise". There were 24 of us. Our 3rd time on MSC and the 2nd on the Divina. We were on last winter and the dining experience was "OK", but boy....have they upped thier game. There is a new exec chef and selection, preparation and presentation have vastly improved both in MDR and buffet. No jugglers, magicians, or comedians at the show, just Las Vegas type review with a touch of Cirque de Soliel and costumes that are way over the top. All great performances. Evenings, a live band for dancing in 3 lounges plus the atrium. M&G, repeaters party and the "Black Party" (that's for top tier repeaters) all offered endless bar service and top staff attended and mingled and chatted with guests. 3 nice pools, with the back most quiet and for adults only. The ship is beautiful and the overall fit and finish is quite nice. We arrived shortly after noon and boarding had already commenced and we were on board in about 10 minutes after arriving. No waiting, no lines, no queuing. MSC had a few issues when they started sailing out of the US, but I think they've pretty much addressed and resolved them. All and all it was a great cruise. We will recommend MSC and we will sail with them in the future. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: January 2019
Best cruise value for balcony cabin including drink package. Service in the Black Crab Dining Room excellent. Our waiter and crew anticipated our needs before we asked. The food was selection was more Mediterranean than we've had on ... Read More
Best cruise value for balcony cabin including drink package. Service in the Black Crab Dining Room excellent. Our waiter and crew anticipated our needs before we asked. The food was selection was more Mediterranean than we've had on other ships but excellent options and we enjoyed trying a few new things. We tried the dining room for both breakfast and lunch as well and enjoyed the menu selection. Excellent pizza, salads, desserts, as well as hot and cold entrees were available in the buffet. The Bella drink package was wonderful. Instead of paying $12/drink, on this ship we were able to drink all day for $12 in tips. The shops were very nice, and the adults only Solarium area was the nicest I'd seen on any ship. Deck chairs were harder to find on sea days, however we learned to get out early and "save" our chairs just like everyone else did. the shows were wonderful and the excursions were great too. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2019
We just returned from a very pleasant first-time cruise on MSC Divina. We have about sixteen cruises under our belt on four other cruise lines and now MSC rates very high. I’m going to attempt to be very detailed with the intention of ... Read More
We just returned from a very pleasant first-time cruise on MSC Divina. We have about sixteen cruises under our belt on four other cruise lines and now MSC rates very high. I’m going to attempt to be very detailed with the intention of being helpful so the reader will understand how to make their MSC cruise more enjoyable. First, there is a bit of a learning curve for MSC. You have to decide not only on the usual cabin type but also your “experience level.” You pay more for better cabin location, the choice of dining times, free room service, etc. Take time to examine these options. We chose Fantastica which gave us early dining time and a drink package. Warning: drink packages have changed so be certain of the details. For some reason, we were given unlimited drinks (still all “lower shelf”), AND 2 packs of coupons for free drinks with no service charge included. Why we got both??? Also, you need to be aware of the status match offer. We are Platinum on NCL and were given the top Black Card Status that came with a number of very nice extras including a dinner for two in one of the two specialty restaurants. Also receive two large solid chocolate ship replicas of the Divina, bathrobes and slippers, a fruit basket, chocolate covered strawberries, a bottle of spumante, a special dance class, and a lovely birthday cake for my husband on his birthday. There were other offers for black card folks like a one-hour thermal area experience that we didn’t use. It appears that MSC was a bit too generous and scaled that offer of their top status back to only the top, top loyalty status on other cruise lines. Unfortunately, no current chart shows which level you will match. So, the status match program was reconfigured around Oct. We applied in Sept. Arrival: We hail from the Midwest that was caught in a polar vortex, but had no problems flying to FLL. We found an incredible deal on Hotwire for a hote in FLL. We called for an UBER the morning of the cruise, and he was there in three minutes. The cost was about $34 to the Port of Miami, Terminal F. The Ship: First, it was kept very clean and is just beautiful. People seemed to be enjoying themselves everywhere we went. Since it is such a large ship, it takes a while to learn your way around, but most areas are typical of a cruise ship: theater in front, buffet in the back, dining rooms in the middle to back areas. You quickly learn that all the instructions on MSC ships will be given in five languages, so you have to endure that experience. English, French, Italian, Spanish and German. Check-in: MSC gives passengers an assigned time, but that means nothing. You can embark whenever you want- after 10:30. We arrived at 10:30 and black status folks should go to the far left. After security, we were directed to the wrong line and soon realized we were not where we should stand. It was quick and efficient, but you process your credit card at a kiosk onboard the ship. We were on the ship by 11:30. Only the buffet is open for lunch. This area becomes quite crowded, and tables were at a premium for those who arrived around 1:00. Our cabins were available around 1:00 and our luggage arrived shortly after that time. The muster drill was at 4:30 and in various areas of the ship. You have to bring your life jacket. Cabin: We chose a SQUARE inside cabin on the 11th deck which had to be the nicest, most roomy inside cabin we ever experienced. Lots of storage and the bathroom was well designed- especially the shower stall and controls. The fan located in the shower helped to keep the steam off the mirrors. Our attendant was also top notch. If you love towel animals, you will be disappointed- not one, but that didn’t bother us at all. Look on the deck plans to find one of these square cabins. They also were placed within secluded interior corridors which meant very little traffic. The hallways seemed to be very quiet overall. Fellow Passengers: Americans were in the minority, but that really wasn’t a huge problem. Reports of “European rudeness” are unfounded IMHO. Many were with family and friends and were pleasant but probably weren’t too interested in making new friends. Some spoke no English, and we were seated for breakfast in the Black Crab on our first sea morning with a non-English speaking couple from Argentina. That didn’t happen again on the cruise. Most of the younger families were from Europe. Entertainment: The entertainment was quite different. The shows were more refined, and opera was offered one evening. We enjoyed it but would likely have not attended if a second one was offered. The singers and dancers are top notch and perform almost every night. You won’t find comedians because of the language issues, nor were there jugglers, illusionists, hypnotists, etc. Just very high-quality singers and dancers who integrated acrobats and Circe d Sole sorts of performances into the shows. The singers have a bit of a foreign accent in their singing, which I thought was delightful. The set was very basic- just lighted stairs but that was just fine. They also didn’t have a “show band” because much of the music required orchestra pieces- violins, etc. We understood the different needs but missed the show band who often play “big band” music in the lounges on other ships. There were some very enjoyable musicians in the lounges. Some places were packed. One lounge had a small dance floor that turned into a heavily traveled walkway- an unfortunate design in the Golden Lounge. I always felt like I should apologize to the singers when I walked past them. The Black and White Lounge featured a very good group with solid vocalists. This lounge had a great dance floor, but it was often used for game shows. The Galaxy lounge is underused because of its poor design and could be better used. Customer Service: This group was perhaps the kindest and most helpful I have experienced on any cruise. We were not Yacht club folks- just plain old inside cabin first timers. The first time I approached the area was to validate my credit card at a kiosk, and one of them kindly escorted me to one that wasn’t being used and helped me through the easy process. I wish I could remember all of their names, but one in the evening was Lisa who was incredibly pleasant. Another woman remembered me as a Cruise Critic passenger and always stopped me to ask how things were going. Cruise Critic Onboard: Although I receive an email before I left reminding me of the Meet and Mingle, I never received a notice about the date or time nor was I informed about the cabin crawl once on the ship. The Cruise Critic party was very nice, but our group wasn’t very active as compared to longer sailings in Europe where there is inherently more involvement. They had nice drinks, canapes, and a huge and delicious cake for the party. The captain and the head officers all attended. No one from Cruise Critic spoke, but the party was well attended. Unfortunately, it was in the Galaxy which is not conducive to mingling or comfort. We were all given a group photo for free! One piece of advice: the cruise critic M&G is run by MSC, and so you will not know the exact time or location. Although I received a reminder email, I never received an invitation to the gathering or the cabin crawl. My name was on the list when I arrived (I asked about this at the front desk.) Cruise Director and staff: This group is often ho-hum, but not on the Divina! The CD, Sinan was delightful and managed his staff of 12-15 folks very well. They were very entertaining in creative ways before the shows in the theatre and engaging in all their duties around the ship. Well done, MSC! Crew: We found the crew very hard working, kind, and friendly. We drink very little, but bar staff was always around for orders when needed. Pool and Fitness Areas: Just like on most cruise ships, there are chair hogs that begin to surface around 6-7 AM and stake out their chair and tables with towels and those big clips. Unfortunately, you have to join in, or you won’t find a chair later on. This problem is pervasive on almost all ships. The fitness area is rather small for the number of passengers. There are three pools: The Serene pool in the covered area, the main pool, and an aft adult only pool on deck 15 near the smokers’ area. Restaurants and Buffet: There are not many options beyond the MDRs and the buffet. Snack sort of food is offered for free at the Sports lounge, and there is a bakery/deli in the Piazza del Doge that has THE BEST Italian cream cakes. If the desserts in the restaurants seem unappealing, go get a piece of cake! We sat with friends at a smallish table for four on the upper deck of the Black Crab Lounge. We had a fantastic waiter, Orlando who saw that we wanted to go to the 7:00 show (our friends retire early), so he expedited our order each night. Not too fast- paced just right. Very competent and friendly and did his job extremely well. If I could bring Orlando to the Villa Rossa restaurant, I would have asked to eat there. It was much brighter and more beautiful with an aft and side view. The food varied in quality, but most selections were typical cruise fare. No complaints, but the food is not extraordinary. We dined at Eataly, and it was very authentic- don’t look for the typical Olive Garden menu! The buffet featured several varieties of very good quality pizza, tasty burgers, and a wide assortment of Mediterranean foods, some Asian and Mexican, comfort foods, salads, fruits, desserts. Coffee, tea, and a few juice type drinks were available. Breakfast in the MDR went sour on the first morning when we were seated with Argentinians who spoke no English. Awkward. The tables are too close together. The Belgian waffles were the same as the ones in the buffet. The experience wasn’t good, so we didn’t repeat. We did eat on sea days in the MDR and were seated with English speaking folks. Except for one HAL cheerleader couple who disliked everything about MSC, the experience was just fine. One thing that could be improved is the availability of coffee stations around the ship. In the morning, we had to hike to the buffet for a cup of coffee. Having coffee on the pool deck would have been a nice addition. Coffee was not to be found at most of the buffet stations on disembarkation day. MSC needs to remedy this problem. The drink packages seem to have recently been revised so I won’t give many details. We had the unlimited drink package and paid a gratuity based on the cost of the drink. The waiter will ask you to sign a receipt. Our waiter recommended we consider the wine tasting event that also included a galley tour. I learned a lot about wines, and it was only $15 pp. Disembarkation: We chose to leave the ship late because we had a 4:20 flight out of Fort Lauderdale. We left our room at 9:30, sat in the Piazza del Doge until 10:00 and then waltzed off the ship. No lines, no crowds, customs was a breeze. We called for an UBER to take us to FLL for $37 (shared with another passenger.) For those considering a cruise with MSC, please consider that the experience will be a bit different and more international. I’m quite used to European travel, and the larger number of European and South Americans onboard had little impact. They smiled and often tried to converse a bit. The only obnoxious people I saw onboard was a woman yelling at her friend across the table and a wife dressing down her husband for becoming intoxicated on the previous night- all English-speaking Americans. I’ve read many very nice reviews but a few written by very mean or ignorant people. One man claimed that he was only offered the SAME dessert EVERY night and that the cake became increasingly stale as the days passed. Really, maybe we should do only video reviews so that readers can get a sense of our sanity and personality. This same man said he would have had a better time on vacation in his garage. I can imagine the horrible scenes this man created onboard and his photo was probably pasted all over the crew decks. Cruise Critic: do you really have to publish this nonsense which is filled with ignorance and outright lies? We were treated so nicely because we approach the staff with a smile and a good attitude. There were a few things that we wished were different, but overall, the cruise was very enjoyable and a good value and quality. To be honest, I wasn’t certain if we made the right choice while I was booking because of their wonky website. As the final payment date neared, I called up to speak to a supervisor to get things cleared up, and from that moment on, everything on the website worked just great. This cruise on the Divina helped me become more enthusiastic about cruising. We were on a transatlantic on NCL Jade last April, and it wasn’t at all inspiring, so the Divina really helped me get energized about cruising again. I would definitely book another one, and we already did on one of their new ships! Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2019
I should warn you....this will be a very in-depth review as I found it difficult to get good info on MSC when we were planning our cruise. I am hoping this will answer questions for everyone...especially US people who may not have heard ... Read More
I should warn you....this will be a very in-depth review as I found it difficult to get good info on MSC when we were planning our cruise. I am hoping this will answer questions for everyone...especially US people who may not have heard of MSC. This was my 18th cruise, I am a 47 year old female, 1st time on MSC. Sailed Carnival, RCCL, Norweigen, Holland America and Disney. We did the 1/30/18 sailing for 11 nights. We had 22 people in our group, ages 4 to 74. Most everyone was 18-52. We picked this due to dates, 11 days, and the PRICE was super reasonable. We upgraded to the "Deluxe" drink package prior to embarkation. I'll discuss drinks later. EMBARKATION - they told us 3pm as our time to get to the port. Sailing was 7pm. We arrrived by noon and were on the ship before pm. It was super easy, but you do set up your credit card on the ship, not at embarkation. You have 48 hours to set up your account. ROOMS - we had an aft facing baloncy, everyone else had side balcony. We love the aft and highly recommend it. The rooms are similar to other ships, our balcony was a bit larger and we put up a hammock. The cabin stewart was awesome, but no animal towels if you look forward to that. SERVICE - A lot of people complained (in previous reviews) that the service was aweful. We did not experience that AT ALL!! Sure, we had to wait at the pool bar for a drink, but I've never been a cruise where I didn't wait. The bars had PLENTY of bar tenders and they were husteling. There wasn't anywere on the ship where we felt service was sub-par. FOOD - Yes, the pizza at the buffet is EXCELLENT! They do have a variety of food and I found everthing above average for a buffet. The buffet is also open 20 hours a day, you can get Pizza 24 hours, so that is great as well. We ate in the dining room every evening. Our wait staff was attentive and gave us great advice on what to eat based on past guest experience. They have a "fixed" menu everyday that includes apps, dinner, dessert. Then they have the "theme" menus daily, and food you can "buy" if you want. We ate the "theme" almost every night. There was only 1 night I did not care for my food so I simply got a different meal. There is PLENTY of variety to choose from. People have complained of cold food....that never happened either. Overall I give the food a 4 out of 5. DRINKS - this was amazing!!!! We had the "Drinks on us" package, but upgraded to "Deluxe" prior to embarkation. We ordered anything we wanted...Grey Goose on the rocks, anything frozem, shaken, etc. With the deluxe we also had our mini bar in the room stocked with small bottles, beer, snacks. They were refilled daily. At dinner were allowed bottles of wine up to $50. We had 2 bottles a night!!! Well, well, well worth purchasing if you are a drinker. PLUS it was the least expensive of any cruise I have been on for all you can drink. ENTERTAINMENT - I personally thought the shows were above average. They had Cirque de Soleil type shows 3 nights or incorporated into the show. Their impression shows were good, but yes, they sing with accent. The show staff is certainly hard working. I am NOT an opera person, but they have opera shows 2 nights (on 11 night cruise). I admit, I fell asleep...but people in our group LOVED it and appreciate Italian opera. They do not have comedians - which is most likely due to the SUPER HIGH amount of Eurpoeans on the ship. I would say 60% not American.....it is an Italian owned cruise line. There is no way a comedian would work due to the joke not being understood by more than 1/2 the passengers. OTHER THINGS TO KNOW - There are "themes" every night. We had 11 nights, so 3 nights were formal. There was an Italian night, White Night, 70's Disco Night, Red night, Fiesta night. They have deck parties every night and those are awesome. They have SOOO Many activites all day - no one was ever bored. They do dance lessons by the pool, Bingo, Master Chef at sea, pool games, basketball tournaents, ping pong tournaments. Most of our group of kids were 17 - 23 and they did activies ALL DAY LONG. We had 6pm seating, then went to the show at 9pm. The shows are somewhat short, so by 9:45 we went to the casino bar. They let the "kids" hang out with us and they would serve 18+ - which is how is should be in international waters. They allowed one person to buy for the group, which was nice. Everyone did not need to go to the bar at once and crowd it. There were plenty of places to hang our after dinner. At least 5 areas with different entertainment/nightly games/participation stuff if you wanted it, or you could just watch other people make fools of them selves. There was ALWAYS something to do. The night time disco was open unitl ??? We left at 4am several times and there were still people dancing. OVERALL - After 18 cruises, this was my favorite. People complained about annoucements in 6 languages. Sure, it was a bit annoying, but it was fine. The food was very good, the service very good to excellent, the ship itself is very classy, the entertainment was very good, and there was never a lack of activities. We are already planning the cruise for next year on MSC. It was also my kids' (ages 18 and 21) favorite cruise. I highly recommend MSC!! Read Less
Sail Date: January 2019
We decided to go on a cruise for my wife's 60th birthday and overall, we had a blast! This is our third cruise and first time on MSC. We had a great time on this cruise, and I would definitely cruise with MSC again. The value is hard ... Read More
We decided to go on a cruise for my wife's 60th birthday and overall, we had a blast! This is our third cruise and first time on MSC. We had a great time on this cruise, and I would definitely cruise with MSC again. The value is hard to beat! Embarkation was ok in Miami… generally smooth. We stood in line to get our cruise card (maybe 30 minutes), and then had to wait seated in a lobby… maybe an hour… until our boarding group was called. We arrived at 11am and were on board the ship by 12:30pm. (FYI… We arrived earlier than our listed boarding time.) Ship / experience: The ship is certainly beautiful… areas are kept very clean. It felt kind of "narrow" to us, perhaps just due to the sliced-up layout rather than the more open mall-like designs in some other ships. It does have one large, beautiful atrium with the famous Swarovski crystal staircases. The clubs and bars all have differing, but pleasing designs. BTW, someone complained about the bar hours, but we always could find an open bar/restaurant if needed, and the bar hours are listed in the daily planner. We snapped a photo of the schedule on our phones and were always able to find an open bar or restaurant. This is a European cruise line, there were many international passengers. We encountered a few that did not speak English, but those that did (or allowed us to attempt to communicate to them in our extremely weak German or Spanish) were very nice. We certainly encountered a couple of “ugly Americans”… and I mean in the way they acted… IE full of negativity and happy to share it whether or not you wanted to hear it! Thankfully, we had fantastic, friendly folks at our table for dinner. Gym: Adequate. I was mostly heading for the treadmills, and generally did not have a problem finding one… or if I had to wait, I didn’t have to wait long. Two of the exercise bikes were not functioning, and I think if you were heading for one of those, you probably would have had more trouble. Still, if you catch it in off hours, you’ll have less of an issue. They have a 30 minute limit on the cardio equipment. There is no running / walking track on this ship. Overall, I’d say the gym is not quite big enough for a ship this size, and with low ceilings, there is not quite enough airflow through the gym especially around the cardio machines. You have to return to your room to shower unless you get a thermal pass. Spa / Thermal Area: We played $100/person for thermal passes and really enjoyed the thermal area with multiple saunas to choose from as well as a larger steam room. (FYI… bring waterproof footwear (watersocks, sandals, flip-flops, etc) if going in the steam room; the floor is slick!) They have a great calming relaxation area with a beautiful view of the sea, and after having a good sweat, it is a great place to relax for a few minutes. We also paid for a couple’s 50 min Balinese massage. We paid $100/person + gratuity… and the massage was great! Entertainment: The entertainment was fair. Let me first say that the performers they had were super talented... excellent live singers, dancers, and acrobats, but they all performed to prerecorded music. As a musician, I really missed seeing live instruments on stage, and there just aren't enough 100%-live bands across the ship. The only regular, fully live band on the ship played in the Black and White lounge playing top 40 dance music from all eras. (Not bad, but the band simply went through the motions and they certainly didn't seem "into it.") Aside from a pianist in the atrium, and a piano/violin classical duo, most other “bands” just had a live musician or two and played against a prerecorded track... so as a musician, it pretty disappointing to me, even though all of the musicians were certainly talented. The stand out for us was Sabor Latino and with a live drummer/percussionist pair... maybe I’m just a sucker for Latin jazz. :-) Shows: This is an Italian ship / cruise line, and I'm really happy to see they embrace opera, even if the crowd did not. I'm not a huge opera fan but can certainly appreciate it. The at-sea mid-day opera show was a highlight for me, but was sparsely attended... the two opera singers were excellent, and they played with a pianist and violinist that were both excellent (and the only "live band" I saw in the theater). The evening opera show (an abridged version of Verdi's La Traviata) was good as well, and you could kind of gather the story from the actions on stage... but not knowing the story line, it still needed either a program guide containing translations or subtitles on the screen above. I saw most of the other shows, only missing a couple of them. Overall, the stage sets for other shows were pretty boring. The Queen show had an awful background track and IMHO, pretty weak choreography. The pirates show had great costumes and the most interesting stage set of any show, but the story line was awful. I really enjoyed the Sinatra show... the baritone was fantastic, and I thought it had good choreography. I also enjoyed the Witches of Paris show, where the acrobats where highlighted. (We only caught two shows that showcased the acrobats). Other on board activities: - In general, the daytime at-sea activities provided did not appeal to us. They mostly consisted of dance lessons, art classes (very basic stuff from our assessment), party / dance stuff in the aqua deck area. They had a napkin / towel folding event where we thought we’d get to try our hand at it, but it turned out to only be a demo which was disappointing. - Sitting by the pool is not our thing, but apparently, getting a deck chair by the pool is quite a challenge. People stake out their chair for the day. I think MSC could prohibit this practice and there'd be plenty of chairs for everyone, as there were always plenty of chairs available… just with people’s stuff on them. - The water slide is blast! - We paid for a "behind the scenes" tour which was very interesting... it lasted a long time… over three hours, and other than visiting the engine room and bridge (due to security concerns), we covered much of the ship. Cost was $45/person and was made through the excursions desk once on board (cannot be pre-booked). Well worth the price! Food: - We really enjoyed the food on the cruise overall. - I thought the buffet was pretty good… plenty of healthy and not-so-healthy options available. I made use of the omelet station every morning, and we overdosed on bacon as you only can at a buffet. :-) The only major flaw at the buffet I saw was that they were scrambling to refill coffee dispensers on a morning or two, and like the dining room, the service through the buffet tables was hit or miss. As others have mentioned, it was definitely very busy at peak breakfast hours, and most Europeans do not have the same sense of personal space as Americans... so some come across as being rude. Still, we were able to find a seat, eat and eat plenty, and I thought the food overall was great. - They also had prosciutto (one of my favorite cold cuts), but only on the first couple of days. - For something different, try a German breakfast… grab one of the delicious roles, some cold cuts, and a hardboiled egg. - If you want something completely different, try the Asian congee, available on only one side of the buffet for breakfast. It’s basically a rice porridge, add miso, mushrooms, onions, and fish sauce to taste; we’ve only experienced this on cruise ships and it is certainly not for everyone, but we love experiencing another culture’s foods… part of the fun of cruising!! - Being lactose intolerant, I was happy to see cheese-less pizza on the buffet. - The bread is amazing… the Europeans know how to make great bread and croissants. Take advantage while you can! - We had some great meals in the dining room. On two nights, entrées on the menu did not appeal to me, but the alternative options were excellent. I ordered the salmon one of those nights and it was great (The salmon is served nightly as one of their “always available options” on the menu.) Another night, none of the meat dishes appealed, so I ordered the vegetarian Indian dish and it too was excellent. (Note that most vegetarian main-course dishes were Indian curries and such… I suspect their other veggie curries were also great.) I only had one poor dish in the dining room, and it was a “healthy fish” option one evening. - One couple said the best food on the ship was in the sports bar, where they served wings and burgers; we personally like more variety than that, but whatever floats your boat! Restaurants: - The main dining room (Black Crab for us) service was hit and miss. The first two nights were both really slow, but they generally improved markedly afterwards for a couple of nights, but then had an off night every now and then… I’d say we had good service 50% of the time. On bad nights, it would take us 2 hours for dinner. On good nights, 1.25 – 1.5 hours… (Lunches and Breakfasts in the main dining room are much faster.) FYI… advice: only order wine when in the restaurant which is kept by the table. Grab any other drinks at the bar, and bring it into the restaurant. The restaurant took forever to serve mixed drinks. - Galaxy – sushi! On my wife’s birthday night, we enjoyed dinner at Galaxy. I thought the Sushi was very good. The price was pretty high… about what we’d pay in a sushi restaurant in the USA. Their menu / pricing was confusing with a bit of fine print explaining it all. So you can get a prix-fare multi-course dinner for $30/person, but can swap one of the options for something better at half price… they didn’t seem to mind if you swapped something similar. Neither of us like octopus, so we swapped for maki for an upcharge. The presentation was beautiful, and service was excellent, and we were surprised at how few folks were dining up there. I think the price was the deterrent… seems to me, we should be paying LESS than we would in a USA sushi restaurant, given that we’ve already paid all-inclusive rates. They could simplify the menu pricing, and just charge $25/person and I bet they’d pack the restaurant. - We thought about dining at Eataly, but heard from others that the steak house part just wasn’t that great, so chose not to go there. We hear the pizza was fantastic, but being lactose intolerant, I avoided it as well. Bars / drink package: - We read up on our “drinks on us” package – know that you do pay gratuity on your drinks, and your drink choices are limited. Search the MSC site to find detailed information about your package. I found a PDF with all the details and specifics and we knew exactly what to expect and it was exactly as stated. - I think our first formal evening, some basic drinks were free in the bar that evening… champagne, and a few mixed drinks too, including a martini. - We found a great bartender, Ryan from the Philippines, at the Silver Bar. (He is on contract with MSC for a few more months, so seek him out if you can!) That ended up being our go-to happy-hour bar before dinner. Other notes: - As others have noted, some staff, including our dinner waiter and our cabin steward, were extremely busy and did not seem to have time to be super personable / friendly with us as might occur on other cruise lines. - Accessibility of the senior staff was pretty impressive. We found a number of senior staff making themselves available throughout our cruise. - I’d encourage you to find your specific cruise on CruiseCritic and sign up for the gathering that they have on board. We spoke to the captain and others and thoroughly enjoyed chatting with the senior staff. In addition, we had a little gift of chocolate covered strawberries and champagne in our cabin the next night! Can’t guarantee you’ll have the same experience, but… Disembarkation was super smooth and fast… much faster than our last experience with Royal Caribbean two years ago in Fort Lauderdale where I think we caught customs on their lunch break! Overall, we’d definitely go on an MSC cruise again. There were definitely some hiccups, but it was obvious to us that MSC is trying very hard and they do want and listen to feedback. Read Less
MSC Divina Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 0.0
Dining 4.5 0.0
Entertainment 4.0 0.0
Public Rooms 4.0 0.0
Fitness Recreation 4.0 0.0
Family 4.0 0.0
Shore Excursion 4.0 0.0
Enrichment 1.0 0.0
Service 4.0 0.0
Value For Money 4.0 0.0
Rates 5.0 0.0

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