This is our review of the MSC Divina cruise that took place over Aug 27 through Sept 3 of 2016. I will break this review into two parts, first, what MSC did right and secondly what they did wrong (IMO)
The ship stopped at St Maartn, which is always beautiful and a great place to stop, San Juan, which is nice if you’ve not seen it before, and Nassau which is an armpit of the Caribbean. They even notify you that you should not stray off the “tourist” locations because of the rampant street crime there. I really don’t understand why the cruise lines don’t tell the Bahamas government that they will no longer stop there until they get their crimes cleaned up a bit. Seems to me that if you threaten to take away millions of tourist dollars to a country that basically survives off the tourist industry, they will do whatever it takes to get that situation under control.
Ok..so what they did right. Embarkation was a breeze. MSC had more than enough folks at the check in counter to keep the lines moving at a good pace. Plus they spaced out the time you were allowed to check in from noon until around 6 which held the massive crowd surge to a minimum. Disembarkation was also very smooth although we were a little late starting but I think that was more of a customs delay than MSC fault. Did hear a couple of very frustrated passengers cursing at the check out location, but not sure what that revolved around so I can’t say if it was something the traveler messed up on or MSC.
What they did wrong. First let me say that my wife and I are veteran cruises. We have cruised on just about every cruise line out there, and they all have advantages and disadvantages. I am having a difficult time coming up with much of anything that was positive about this cruise, once we actually got onto the ship.
It started when we entered our room on the 8th deck. We open the drapes out to the balcony and see nothing but a row of life boats. Now, like I said above, we are veterans at cruising and my wife is very good at making sure that we are in a room without obstructions. We doubled checked our boarding tickets, rechecked the website, checked everything we could think of and could not find anything that tell perspective cruisers that almost all of the balcony rooms on deck 8 have at least a partially obstructed view.
So we go down to the customer service desk to complain. While inline we hear two other guest complaining about the same thing. Now this has to be something that MSC deals with on a regular basis because they have stock answers for the complaints. First they try to blame the travel agent that booked the cruise. They then tell that you if booked online then you that you should have seen that the view is partially obstructed (which is does not say anywhere online). When we told them that we called and talked to an actual MSC agent and SPECIFICALLY told them we wanted a room with no obstructions, they then decided that our room wasn’t actually considered an obstructed view because the boats were not at eye level. I will attach a couple of photos taken from a seated position on my balcony and let the reader decide.
That gets me to the customer service person that we talked to. I am really sorry that I didn’t get her name, and we checked everyday afterwards and never saw her at the customer service desk again, which is good because she should not be allowed within 100 miles of any customer service position. She was rude, condescending, and basically implied that this was our fault because we were apparently too stupid to find the original construction plans to the ship to see where the life boats were positioned. They also told us that there were no other balcony rooms available, which we also knew was a lie but were not in a position to push back more.
At this point we decided to make the best of the situation and try to relax a little bit. We found what they referred to as the “Zen” pool area. Most ships that we have been on have an area that is adults only where you don’t have the loud dance music blaring all day long, so we figured the Zen pool would be a good place to go relax, drink a beer and try to calm down after our conversation with incredibly rude customer service person. We walk though the door to the pool are and immediately get blasted with Boom Boom Boom bass beat from some techno dance tune. Then we see multiple children running all around the pool area, so there goes our Zen moment.
The buffet restaurant is open so we now decide to get a bite to eat. I have been on a lot of ships, including the Epic which holds over 6,000 passengers, and I have never seen an eating area as crowded as this one. The food is organized like they want to make it difficult for you. For example, all I wanted was a simple salad. You have to get you plate at the wrong end of the bar, so you get your plate, then have to walk to the other end to get your lettuce. At first I thought this was just because everyone was getting on and they were all going to the restaurant at the same time, but the crowds were the same everyday, no matter what time you went. Lots of really rude people that will cut right in front of someone standing in line without as much as a simple excuse me. By the end of the cruise, I had made several non friends by calling them out on their rudeness.
So now we decide that we’ll wait until dinner and enjoy a good meal in the restaurant with great personalized service. Not so much….my table consisted of three ladies and myself. Our waiter comes over and I just assume that he’ll start taking orders from the ladies first….No….he comes straight to me. I was going to wait to see what everyone else was going to order. When I hesitated, he literally rolls his eyes at me, starts poking my wife in her arm telling her to start ordering. We had nothing special with our meal but had to ask twice for refills of ice water. The food was just flat out nasty. Worse food I’ve ever had on a cruise. I know that the cruise lines want to try and force folks into eating in their additional costs restaurants now, but they should still want to serve decent food to the regular guest that don’t want to spend that additional 40 – 50 bucks a day. The only defense that I can give our waiter is there was a large family of very demanding Asians sitting at the table next to us that consumed a lot of his attention.
Deck chairs by the pools were in rare supply because folks did exactly what they were asked not to do. They would go up first thing in the morning and lay claim to a chair and then only actually use the chair for maybe an hour or two while tying them up so no one else could use them. The ship staff appeared oblivious or just did not care that this was happening. There were a surprising number of European cruisers on this boat. I don’t mean that disparagingly, it was just odd to see this many European folks on a US based cruise. A quick hint to my fellow European cruisers. If you’re over 50 years old and 50 pounds overweight, wearing a Speedo or a tiny two piece bikini is NOT a good look for you….just saying. There are some things that just cannot be unseen.
The entertainment on the ship was pretty weak. We usually like to partake in a couple of the shows but there was nothing offered on this cruise that even remotely sounded interesting.
I could go on but I think I’ve rambled on enough. Bottom line is, I will NEVER cruise MSC again. I had wondered what the initials MSC stood for. After this cruise I think its Massively Sucky Cruises,
Went to Maho beach via cab
Just walked around the port area shops