Smooth sailing on the most beautiful ship ever: MSC Divina Cruise Review by lorenzod
Overall Member Rating
Smooth sailing on the most beautiful ship ever
Destination: Western Caribbean
We had a very enjoyable cruise on the MSC Divina despite a very difficult embarkation. We had been told by MSC that we could board the ship at noon so we arrived at the port of Miami at 11 AM. We had requested a wheel chair and someone to assist us boarding when we booked the cruise since I had recently suffered a compression fracture of my back. Unfortunately when we asked where to get the wheel chair they told us to go to the second floor. We took the elevator up only to find the building was being evacuated and we had to go back outside. No one knew what was going on and we finally heard that there was a gas leak and we were told to walk to the next building. That building was locked and no one around to tell us what to do. It was very hot outside that day and the walk was difficult for my husband(who has a heart condition and a bad back) and for me as we still did not have a wheel chair. After one hour someone from the port More appeared with a wheel chair. What a relief to sit down. It took 4 more hours before we boarded the ship. We really felt the Port of Miami should have supplied water to the waiting passengers as well as making some kind of announcement about what was happening. We never were able to get someone from MSC to help push the wheel chair aboard the ship and my husband had to rely on the help of other cruisers to push me aboard. Port of Miami really dropped the ball on this potential disaster and should have handled it better, PA announcements should have been made and a more orderly boarding occur where the people waiting the longest should have been boarding first as well as those who were handicapped or diabetic. Fire Rescue(EMS) had to be called because one of our friends blood pressure rose so high she became faint and almost missed going on the cruise.
Finally at 5PM we made our way to our balcony cabin and headed to the buffet for a long awaited lunch. We found both the cabins and the ship to be elegant. The ship was so smooth we never noticed when we left the port. We had a Meet and Greet Party for our Cruise Critic Group which I had arranged for the first sea day. We were pleased that the Captain Scala, as well as the Cruise Director Andre and the Events Coordinator R. Torres attended. It was held in the Silver Lounge which was just beautiful. We were told about what had occurred the previous day and heard the whole story which the rest of the passengers had never heard. Part of the problem was about 4000 passengers from Brazil had to disembark that morning and customs officials had decided it was necessary to finger print and photograph all 4000 of them before being allowed off the ship. Then the ship was being refueled and somehow the fumes were sucked into the Port of Miami building causing the evacuation. MSC wanted to send food and water out to the passengers waiting to board but customs officials would not allow this to occur. They needed the building evacuated for the safety of the passengers. It would have been nice if the awaiting passengers were told not to smoke during this crisis to prevent another problem. Can you believe there were passengers smoking even though there was a strong smell of gas. Also, the police and port staff who were very visible should have been enforcing a NON SMOKING situation.
The entertainment aboard was excellent. Every night there was another show in the theater that was fantastic. The shows were on par with ones you would see in Las Vegas for over $100 a ticket. The Michael Jackson Tribute, The Simply Italian Show and The Witches of Paris are not to be missed. The entertainment team aboard helped to create laughs prior to showtime If you did not want to go to the theater there were many other areas that had music or even a movie outside under the stars. At 10:30PM back in the Black and White Lounge the entertainment team continued their funny antics with the Little Italy Party. The entertainment team is also responsible for arts and crafts as well as trivia. We loved the trivia games which were held at least twice a day. They had really nice prizes for the winners unlike some other cruise lines who have really cut corners. Makes no sense for the cruise lines not to take advantage of getting free publicity by giving out prizes with their logo on it that passengers will continue to wear once off the ship. The only problem we had with the entertainment area was the timeliness of the personnel arriving to start the trivia games.
Next on the agenda is the dining room. We were fortunate enough to know the restaurant manager from a previous MSC Cruise and he gave us a beautifully located table, close to a window. We had first seating which we prefer and a waiter and an assistant waiter who gave us the best service we have ever had in our history of cruising(over 60 cruises). Their names were Sugiana and Andy from Indonesia. They must have been hand picked my Mauricio(restaurant manager). They remembered everything we liked and always had it on our table before we arrived. They smiled as they performed their duties. Very friendly and easy to understand. The food was excellent. I got to try dishes I had never had before and almost every night I would tell the waiter to tell the chef how wonderful the food was. On the second formal night our waiter served us lobster tail and without even asking he gave each of us a double portion of lobster. It was so tender and delicious. Best of all was the parade of waiters carrying flaming Baked Alaska. It was the best Baked Alaska I have ever had. Instead of the traditional vanilla, chocolate and strawberry ice cream filling it had pistachio and coffee ice cram. The only improvement that I might suggest is their coffee. Not very good. I suggest having hot tea. I would avoid the buffet. the buffet food that should be hot was always luke warm. About the only thing I would recommend is the pizza if you got it right after it came out of the oven. They do not have a made to order omelet station. We never took advantage of the room service menu because breakfast only included cold continental breakfast. So we skipped breakfast and had brunch instead.
Now to the pools. Never really got to try the pool since it was very crowded on sea days. On days when we were in port my husband went into the pool and said it was very nice, warm and was filled with salt water. However, entry for me with my bad back was not possible. They did not have chairs to lower the handicapped into a pool. In fact I found the ship was not really designed to handle the handicapped. In the theater there is only one row of seats that a handicapped person can access. The seats should have been arranged so the wheel chairs could fit beside each seat. Very difficult to get in and out. In the public bathrooms for the handicapped there were no alarm buttons or phones for a person to call for help if something happened while in the bathroom to ask for assistance. Even if they had a phone in the bathroom it would not have helped because whenever you would call Guest Services for any problem the phone would ring and ring until finally you got a recording telling you that" everyone was busy but your call is very important and someone would be with you shortly" which would soon follow by the line going dead.
The elevators on the ship were beautiful but relatively small. It would be helpful if, inside the elevator, there was a list of what was located on each floor. It was really nice that the elevator banks were linked together so you only needed to press one button to summon any of the elevators in that bank. You had to be fast to grab an elevator because the elevators close very quickly.
Our cabin steward, Donna, was excellent. Our room was always made up quickly. Whenever we needed anything she took care of it. The bed was large and very comfortable. The bathroom in our handicapped cabin was huge and the shower was powerful. Flushing the toilet was an art but we finally adapted to the light touch that was required. The balcony was very nice. The only suggestion I have is that 2 chaise lounges would be nicer that upright chairs. They have a nice remote control TV with a sleep timer. Also the TV is interactive so you can see the daily program on the TV as well as your bill. The TV guide in the room was of no help because the channels did not match what was on the screen. You could either see news or sports and maybe a movie. I am a very light sleeper and am not sure why the ship found it necessary to have music in the corridors at night time that was so loud it came into our cabin and kept me awake. I finally called to complain about it when the music that was playing was stuck playing the same notes over and over again. They did nothing to fix it so I took a sleeping pill. Same thing happened the next 2 nights. I complained again and finally on the last night they turned it off but immediately turned it back on at 6 AM.
Time to go home. You must vacate your cabin by 7 AM. Breakfast in the main dining room was good. I had the most delicious warm chocolate chip muffin. It's a shame I'm not a morning person or I would have had breakfast in the main dining room too every day. Their chocolate croissants are also delicious. Debarkation went really well. We met in the Silver lounge. Someone was there to push me in a wheel chair all the way down to our luggage. They helped find and lift the luggage. Then the porter from the Port of Miami took over and carried our luggage through the VIP line. That was the best thing about being handicapped was having my own line and someone attending to the handicapped to get them out quickly unlike our embarkation where the wheel chair assistance line was unmanned and the last line in the room.
The survey form MSC gives you the last night of the cruise needs adequate space for recognition of all the staff who made the cruise special.
Overall we enjoyed our time on the Divina and would recommend it . Less
Cabin review: 11132
The bed was large and very comfortable. The bathroom in our handicapped cabin was huge and the shower was powerful. Flushing the toilet was an art but we finally adapted to the light touch that was required. The balcony was very nice. The only suggestion I have is that 2 chaise lounges would be nicer that upright chairs. They have a nice remote control TV with a sleep timer. Also the TV is interactive so you can see the daily program on the TV as well as your bill. The TV guide in the room was of no help because the channels did not match what was on the screen.