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I have no idea what ship the people were on who gave this cruise company, ship and crew bad reviews. I, like most of you, read everything I could before we left. Reviews stated that most liked the ship itself and the entertainment (which is by the way the BEST we've seen on any cruise) but would put down the service and food. We've been on 20+ cruises on Princess, RCCL, Celebrity, NCL, Norwegian, Sitmar (I'm dating myself here) and a couple river cruises so we are well aware what's out there. We went into this with an open mind realizing this itinerary has only been in effect since November and staff is used to the laid back Europeans and not the demanding Americans. Yes, we are American.... WA state residents and by the way, I'm a retired travel agent so I do really look at all aspects of a cruise. As another reviewer mentioned...when you see a negative review of everything, it's probably the reviewer, not what they are reviewing. We were on the April 26-May 3 sailing of the MSC Divina. First of all the embarkation was by far the easiest we've ever had. No lines, no pushing or crowding. From the very first MSC staff we encountered we were impressed. Very cordial, welcoming. Our flight got in to Miami at 12:20PM, **good tip for most cruises and especially out of Miami and when transfers aren't included....take a taxi ($25 each way, not per person) saving about $20 each way and also saving at least an hour waiting for the shuttle bus to fill up, waiting to get on and off the bus, waiting for luggage to be taken off bus, and then getting in line with all those people who were on the bus. The taxi dropped us right in front of the entrance, went through security check and up to our cabin which took all of 10min from the time the cab dropped us til we were in our cabin(which by the way, if you'd just wait until 1 or 2PM, you'll have a much shot at going straight to your cabin. This applies to just about any cruise that leaves after 4PM. Yes, you don't get as much time taking in the ship but I'd personally rather give up an hour there rather than stand in lines for an hour OR MORE going early. This ship is technically pretty up to date (it's only 2 years old). When you walk in your cabin, there's a slot for your cruise card. You must put your cruise card in the slot or your lights won't work. It's a great little idea, you know where your card is and the slot also turns on a little orange light above your door outside, letting your room steward or stewardess know that you are in your cabin and they don't bother you. Very clever....however, there is nowhere this is posted so people are out in the halls asking why the lights in the bathroom won't come on. The Cruise Director comes on and announces this every so often but since I kept up with Cruise Critic (thank you members) we already knew that! Our room stewardess was extremely nice. I think she was excited since she only had 1 more week on her contract and could get back to her son for a couple of months. Anything we needed she was right there to accommodate us. Ok, beds... we found the bed extremely comfortable (there again a personal choice) but the pillows????? Like one person mentioned, they feel like they are filled with torn up pieces of material...sorta lumpy, but turns out when you get situated and fluff them up they weren't bad at all. We slept like babies. We went up to the buffet which was quite large. They have 3 or 4 different stations which had the same thing at each, so there was never a crowd for breakfast or lunch buffet. That being said, we are early risers, did our walk on the deck 15 walking deck (5 times around is a mile so we were told) and usually were at breakfast by 7:30 or 8 so can't speak to the crowd after 8. The variety of food was excellent. However, if you don't snoop around a bit you will totally miss the "Daily specials" and "Ethnic foods" buffet tables which are toward the back of the ship from the main buffet tables. Some people may just think it's more of the same but look around, it's a fantastic part of the buffet and different daily unlike the normal salad bar, pizza (which is terrific) and the hot dogs, hamburgers, French fries and regular buffet stuff. Those saying the burgers hot dogs and fries were bad.... ????? again, what ship were you on? They mentioned they were under heat lamps and stale. Hummm, tell me, with 3500+ people on the ship, how can they get stale? They were replacing them hot off the grille quite often. I did try the cheese burger and fries and both were hot and delicious. Lots of stuff from the salad bar to add to them. I'm going to try to attach some pics of food from our dinners which, by the way, others put down and we thought were excellent. Again, food is a touchy subject and not everyone likes the same thing however those at our table never had a complaint. The one thing I was hoping the reviewers were wrong about was the pasta.... they were right....not that good or at least we didn't especially like it. Which leads me to dinner staff and food. The waiters we encountered were exceptionally friendly and accommodating and after the first night knew I'd like as much shrimp cocktail I could get when available. It got to be a joke and sometimes they would just bring a plate of shrimp and cocktail sauce which the entire table would gobble up.... amazing. Other than the pasta, the dinner food was exceptional. Lobster isn't a favorite of mine but I did have it and it was good. I would order fish quite often and found it all to be very good. The steak on the (daily offering page) is terrific as well as the lamb and prime rib. Did try the soups and they were very good as well. I don't think they know yet about salads and Americans... or should I say American type salads. The potato salad at the buffet was some lettuce in the bottom of the bowl with big cubes of potato, slice of egg, tomato, salt and pepper. I would have liked more items on the build your own salad bar but again it was adequate. Desserts at the buffet were sort of boring to me but the ones at dinner were very good. They had "soft ice cream" in the afternoon on the pool deck and you could buy gelato. I just waited for dinner where the gelato was included and they had a delicious crème Brule. Anything chocolate seemed to be excellent to me... a true chocoholic. Since kids are free 18 and under sharing a cabin with the parents there were a fair number but since we waited til after Spring Break it was manageable. Lots of tots with their parents but the only time I noticed them was around the pool. Ok, now to the pools.....The Aqua Spa main pool is small but large enough to bob around in. You need to stake out a lounge early on "at sea" days but like I said, we're early risers so no problem there. Others commented on not having a bar person handy at the snap of a finger. Unlike most Caribbean cruises where they are constantly pushing their "drink of the day" MSC Divina has people very handy IF you choose to have a drink. You don't need to get up if you don't want....they are always around ... just not bothering you (there's that European thing again). There were a couple other pools, one covered pool which was uncovered since our week was exceptionally beautiful, and one at the back of deck 15. This pool is where I watched, notice I said watched, the aqua cycling. Looked like fun but the people said it was grueling. Stretching, dance classes and aerobics were free but most everything else, yoga, palates, etc. had a charge. I didn't use the spa but the prices looked reasonable. I won't speak to the excursions since we'd been to all these ports several times and just got off long enough to check out a few stores and get back on but the people at our table did a lot of snorkeling trips and they liked them all except Great Stirrup Cay which is so shallow and no wrecks to see and not that many fish, so I was told. The casino........$&$%#%$@)....We should have kept our money in our pockets. My husband was only one number from the mega bingo blackout on the last night (the only time we ever play).... so went our gambling. We tried to stop at each of the bars during the week and check out the entertainment. There is something for everyone. They offer quite a few different drink packages for hard liquor and wine plus beer and soda. We bought the beer (for my husband) 14 coupons for $52 bought online before the cruise and (soda/juice for me) 15 coupons for $30. When you use these you do not pay the 15% gratuity they add to drinks you buy on the ship. The beer on the ship is $5.75 with the gratuity added and soda is $2.88. We paid $3.71 for beer total and $2 for soda so it was a good deal. I brought home 3 cokes in my checked luggage since I couldn't drink 15 in a week. Guess that's all I have to say about that....stuff going on all the time. Not as much as other cruise lines but enough to keep you busy if you want. I missed more comedy acts but understand why they don't have them. The ratio of English speaking to non-English speaking people on the cruise was probably 45% English/65% not.... or they have it as a 2nd language and comedians just don't get across to that type of audience. They did have one comic who did one show one night at 11PM and we were in bed by then, but heard he was very good. The shows were spectacular. Don't miss the Pirate show, Witches of Paris and Michael Jackson tribute. The two main singers on the cruise were opera singers who did a little of everything else and were amazing. My husband isn't an opera lover so we didn't see the shows that were predominately opera but heard again that they were terrific. I can tell you the costumes, sets and music and sound system were, as I said before, as good as any I've seen at Las Vegas productions. The entertainment staff were great....always doing something somewhere on the ship. These were people who were part of the crew, not the entertainers although they entertained all the time. This particular ship has the MSC Yacht Club....a very private 16th floor ship in a ship. If you buy this upgrade you get curb to curb service and I mean service. You are met by your butler (yep butler) who takes you past all us "regular folk" straight up to your private reception area where free drinks, champagne, whatever is waiting for you. You have your own bar...or should I say bars, dining rooms....one just for the Yacht Club people and then Le Muse (a optional restaurant for regular people for a fee but free for the Yacht Club guests), 2 hot tubs and a pool. These are all suites and I believe there are only 34 suites and 3 family suites. There is also the Sophia Loren grand suite (Ms. Loren christened her). Disembarkation was terrific, for us anyway. We chose the self-assist where you keep all your luggage and bring it down with you when you get off the ship. Again, the crowd thing is what we hate so waiting to get off the ship, combing through luggage to find our, finding the shuttle bus, waiting for it to fill up... well you know the drill, was not for us. We went to the Black and White lounge, settled in nice comfortable chairs and since the self-assist get off the ship first we didn't have that long a wait. As with most cruise lines, that last morning you need to be out of your cabin very early and have to find somewhere to go with all your carry-on luggage, get breakfast and wait, and wait and then do the whole crowd thing. Anyway, when they called our disembarkation number (it was 2), we walked off the ship.... no crowds, didn't even have to stop til we got to immigration.....told the nice man "no, we don't have anything we shouldn't" and he said "have a nice day" and out the door to a taxi who was waiting along with 100 other cabs, to take us to the airport. Another cruise over and we can't wait to book another MSC cruise. Had I realized how amazing it would be I would have booked back-to-back Eastern and Western so we wouldn't have to fly clear across the country to get there. I'm thinking Mediterranean next time.

Don't skip this review......

MSC Divina Cruise Review by zigsma

1 person found this helpful
Trip Details
I have no idea what ship the people were on who gave this cruise company, ship and crew bad reviews. I, like most of you, read everything I could before we left. Reviews stated that most liked the ship itself and the entertainment (which is by the way the BEST we've seen on any cruise) but would put down the service and food. We've been on 20+ cruises on Princess, RCCL, Celebrity, NCL, Norwegian, Sitmar (I'm dating myself here) and a couple river cruises so we are well aware what's out there. We went into this with an open mind realizing this itinerary has only been in effect since November and staff is used to the laid back Europeans and not the demanding Americans. Yes, we are American.... WA state residents and by the way, I'm a retired travel agent so I do really look at all aspects of a cruise. As another reviewer mentioned...when you see a negative review of everything, it's probably the reviewer, not what they are reviewing.
We were on the April 26-May 3 sailing of the MSC Divina. First of all the embarkation was by far the easiest we've ever had. No lines, no pushing or crowding. From the very first MSC staff we encountered we were impressed. Very cordial, welcoming. Our flight got in to Miami at 12:20PM, **good tip for most cruises and especially out of Miami and when transfers aren't included....take a taxi ($25 each way, not per person) saving about $20 each way and also saving at least an hour waiting for the shuttle bus to fill up, waiting to get on and off the bus, waiting for luggage to be taken off bus, and then getting in line with all those people who were on the bus. The taxi dropped us right in front of the entrance, went through security check and up to our cabin which took all of 10min from the time the cab dropped us til we were in our cabin(which by the way, if you'd just wait until 1 or 2PM, you'll have a much shot at going straight to your cabin. This applies to just about any cruise that leaves after 4PM. Yes, you don't get as much time taking in the ship but I'd personally rather give up an hour there rather than stand in lines for an hour OR MORE going early. This ship is technically pretty up to date (it's only 2 years old). When you walk in your cabin, there's a slot for your cruise card. You must put your cruise card in the slot or your lights won't work. It's a great little idea, you know where your card is and the slot also turns on a little orange light above your door outside, letting your room steward or stewardess know that you are in your cabin and they don't bother you. Very clever....however, there is nowhere this is posted so people are out in the halls asking why the lights in the bathroom won't come on. The Cruise Director comes on and announces this every so often but since I kept up with Cruise Critic (thank you members) we already knew that! Our room stewardess was extremely nice. I think she was excited since she only had 1 more week on her contract and could get back to her son for a couple of months. Anything we needed she was right there to accommodate us. Ok, beds... we found the bed extremely comfortable (there again a personal choice) but the pillows????? Like one person mentioned, they feel like they are filled with torn up pieces of material...sorta lumpy, but turns out when you get situated and fluff them up they weren't bad at all. We slept like babies.
We went up to the buffet which was quite large. They have 3 or 4 different stations which had the same thing at each, so there was never a crowd for breakfast or lunch buffet. That being said, we are early risers, did our walk on the deck 15 walking deck (5 times around is a mile so we were told) and usually were at breakfast by 7:30 or 8 so can't speak to the crowd after 8. The variety of food was excellent. However, if you don't snoop around a bit you will totally miss the "Daily specials" and "Ethnic foods" buffet tables which are toward the back of the ship from the main buffet tables. Some people may just think it's more of the same but look around, it's a fantastic part of the buffet and different daily unlike the normal salad bar, pizza (which is terrific) and the hot dogs, hamburgers, French fries and regular buffet stuff. Those saying the burgers hot dogs and fries were bad.... ????? again, what ship were you on? They mentioned they were under heat lamps and stale. Hummm, tell me, with 3500+ people on the ship, how can they get stale? They were replacing them hot off the grille quite often. I did try the cheese burger and fries and both were hot and delicious. Lots of stuff from the salad bar to add to them. I'm going to try to attach some pics of food from our dinners which, by the way, others put down and we thought were excellent. Again, food is a touchy subject and not everyone likes the same thing however those at our table never had a complaint. The one thing I was hoping the reviewers were wrong about was the pasta.... they were right....not that good or at least we didn't especially like it. Which leads me to dinner staff and food. The waiters we encountered were exceptionally friendly and accommodating and after the first night knew I'd like as much shrimp cocktail I could get when available. It got to be a joke and sometimes they would just bring a plate of shrimp and cocktail sauce which the entire table would gobble up.... amazing. Other than the pasta, the dinner food was exceptional. Lobster isn't a favorite of mine but I did have it and it was good. I would order fish quite often and found it all to be very good. The steak on the (daily offering page) is terrific as well as the lamb and prime rib. Did try the soups and they were very good as well. I don't think they know yet about salads and Americans... or should I say American type salads. The potato salad at the buffet was some lettuce in the bottom of the bowl with big cubes of potato, slice of egg, tomato, salt and pepper. I would have liked more items on the build your own salad bar but again it was adequate. Desserts at the buffet were sort of boring to me but the ones at dinner were very good. They had "soft ice cream" in the afternoon on the pool deck and you could buy gelato. I just waited for dinner where the gelato was included and they had a delicious crème Brule. Anything chocolate seemed to be excellent to me... a true chocoholic.
Since kids are free 18 and under sharing a cabin with the parents there were a fair number but since we waited til after Spring Break it was manageable. Lots of tots with their parents but the only time I noticed them was around the pool. Ok, now to the pools.....The Aqua Spa main pool is small but large enough to bob around in. You need to stake out a lounge early on "at sea" days but like I said, we're early risers so no problem there. Others commented on not having a bar person handy at the snap of a finger. Unlike most Caribbean cruises where they are constantly pushing their "drink of the day" MSC Divina has people very handy IF you choose to have a drink. You don't need to get up if you don't want....they are always around ... just not bothering you (there's that European thing again). There were a couple other pools, one covered pool which was uncovered since our week was exceptionally beautiful, and one at the back of deck 15. This pool is where I watched, notice I said watched, the aqua cycling. Looked like fun but the people said it was grueling. Stretching, dance classes and aerobics were free but most everything else, yoga, palates, etc. had a charge. I didn't use the spa but the prices looked reasonable.
I won't speak to the excursions since we'd been to all these ports several times and just got off long enough to check out a few stores and get back on but the people at our table did a lot of snorkeling trips and they liked them all except Great Stirrup Cay which is so shallow and no wrecks to see and not that many fish, so I was told.
The casino........$&$%#%$@)....We should have kept our money in our pockets. My husband was only one number from the mega bingo blackout on the last night (the only time we ever play).... so went our gambling. We tried to stop at each of the bars during the week and check out the entertainment. There is something for everyone. They offer quite a few different drink packages for hard liquor and wine plus beer and soda. We bought the beer (for my husband) 14 coupons for $52 bought online before the cruise and (soda/juice for me) 15 coupons for $30. When you use these you do not pay the 15% gratuity they add to drinks you buy on the ship. The beer on the ship is $5.75 with the gratuity added and soda is $2.88. We paid $3.71 for beer total and $2 for soda so it was a good deal. I brought home 3 cokes in my checked luggage since I couldn't drink 15 in a week. Guess that's all I have to say about that....stuff going on all the time. Not as much as other cruise lines but enough to keep you busy if you want. I missed more comedy acts but understand why they don't have them. The ratio of English speaking to non-English speaking people on the cruise was probably 45% English/65% not.... or they have it as a 2nd language and comedians just don't get across to that type of audience. They did have one comic who did one show one night at 11PM and we were in bed by then, but heard he was very good. The shows were spectacular. Don't miss the Pirate show, Witches of Paris and Michael Jackson tribute. The two main singers on the cruise were opera singers who did a little of everything else and were amazing. My husband isn't an opera lover so we didn't see the shows that were predominately opera but heard again that they were terrific. I can tell you the costumes, sets and music and sound system were, as I said before, as good as any I've seen at Las Vegas productions. The entertainment staff were great....always doing something somewhere on the ship. These were people who were part of the crew, not the entertainers although they entertained all the time.
This particular ship has the MSC Yacht Club....a very private 16th floor ship in a ship. If you buy this upgrade you get curb to curb service and I mean service. You are met by your butler (yep butler) who takes you past all us "regular folk" straight up to your private reception area where free drinks, champagne, whatever is waiting for you. You have your own bar...or should I say bars, dining rooms....one just for the Yacht Club people and then Le Muse (a optional restaurant for regular people for a fee but free for the Yacht Club guests), 2 hot tubs and a pool. These are all suites and I believe there are only 34 suites and 3 family suites. There is also the Sophia Loren grand suite (Ms. Loren christened her).
Disembarkation was terrific, for us anyway. We chose the self-assist where you keep all your luggage and bring it down with you when you get off the ship. Again, the crowd thing is what we hate so waiting to get off the ship, combing through luggage to find our, finding the shuttle bus, waiting for it to fill up... well you know the drill, was not for us. We went to the Black and White lounge, settled in nice comfortable chairs and since the self-assist get off the ship first we didn't have that long a wait. As with most cruise lines, that last morning you need to be out of your cabin very early and have to find somewhere to go with all your carry-on luggage, get breakfast and wait, and wait and then do the whole crowd thing. Anyway, when they called our disembarkation number (it was 2), we walked off the ship.... no crowds, didn't even have to stop til we got to immigration.....told the nice man "no, we don't have anything we shouldn't" and he said "have a nice day" and out the door to a taxi who was waiting along with 100 other cabs, to take us to the airport. Another cruise over and we can't wait to book another MSC cruise. Had I realized how amazing it would be I would have booked back-to-back Eastern and Western so we wouldn't have to fly clear across the country to get there. I'm thinking Mediterranean next time.
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Cabin Review

Cabin 11128
Cabin 11128 was a large balcony stateroom. Nice layout...narrower than others but deep. Adequate room on balcony. Loved the shower with split doors and for those who complained about leaking water, if they'd just look at the workings of the door they would see you close one side and get in and close from within and there's not one drop of water outside the shower. Adequate closet space. I brought my own wire hangers since hangers were not in abundance however I'm sure your room steward would get some for you. Largest of bags fit under the bed. Lots of space in the bathroom on corner shelves and under sink.
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