Wonderful Cruise: MSC Divina Cruise Review by JodiO
Overall Member Rating
Destination: Europe - Eastern Mediterranean
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 More 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.
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. Less