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We were looking for a cruise that fit our schedule in mid July as we would be in Geneva. We chose MSC cruise out of Marseille as it seemed like a good way to introduce my husband to the cruise experience, with a new city each day. We stayed in Marseille for a couple of days prior to embarkation. City is “gritty” and “edgy” as the reviewers have said, but it also made us a little anxious. We did however, visit some museums which were excellent, and also spent a day in Aix en Provence which was brilliant. The trip from Marseille (downtown) to the cruise port was about 25 minutes in taxi and no trouble getting there. The MSC staff was helpful and there were very few people, so boarding was very fast. We boarded and were able to access our room immediately. Let’s start with all the good things we found about this particular MSC cruise: 1. The food was excellent. Wherever we ate - the cafeterias, the dining room, the other eateries on the ship- the food was all top quality. We had absolutely no complaints about the quality of the food. We had bought a drinks package prior to boarding, and this I found reduced the annoyance of having to pay for each drink, or the service charges. You should know that NO beverages other than coffee,tea and plain water (not bottled) are included in the all-inclusive so you should get some sort of package if you want to enjoy your cruise. Our drinks package allowed for glasses of wine almost anywhere except our room, all alcoholic beverages, juice (except freshly squeezed we learned on the first day), and canned drinks and mineral or bottled water. It also included specialty coffees and gelato. For us this was great. 2. The cabin was large, clean, and comfortable. No complaints about the cabin itself. Good choice for us but the aft is noisy with the wake of the ship so if you don’t like that noise than it won’t be for you. 3. Itinerary. This cruise has a great itinerary and is interesting for those who like history. It goes to Genoa, Rome, Palermo, Cagliari, Palma de Mallorca and Valencia. We left from Marseille but you can choose other cities for departure. People seemed to get on and off at different sites. Mostly you are sailing at night - you get wonderful views of the ports as you sail off in the early evenings, and again views when you arrive in the mornings. Quite lovely. We did not book excursions with the cruise line because all of them left too early in the mornings for our taste (9 am or so). We did a little homework and for those cities where the ports were close we just disembarked and made our own arrangements. 4. Entertainment. It was all very good including the shows at night. The piano bar had some wonderful singers and a piano player. Very enjoyable. Some other considerations you might find helpful from our experience. 1. Check with the reception desk at the very beginning of the cruise to determine what is included with your card and to make sure that if you pre-ordered anything, it is included on your card. You need the card for everything, including getting off the ship so keep it safe We found the staff to be relatively nice but not particularly helpful or forthcoming with information. We did a lot of “asking questions” at the reception desk because we just didn’t know about certain things - like at the beginning of the cruise “how does the drinks package work? What is included”? We weren’t provided with much information - we eventually found someone who offered us a map of the ship - on day 5, which would have been most helpful on day 1! 2. The “steward” definition on this cruise seems different from my experience on Carnival, where the Steward helped you figure things out and was there to help. In our case we barely saw the Steward, he didn’t introduce himself and when we did ask questions he was unable to answer them. This could be a cultural thing so I wouldn’t put too much into it as it didn’t ruin the cruise or anything - it would just have been nice. 3. There was no concept of line-ups, for lunch, for disembarkation, for waiting for the elevators. This could be a little annoying when we were trying to get back to our room after an excursion, or when the restaurants were busy, but again, we just assumed it was different customs so we did our best. 4. The night prior to arrival in two of the ports - Valencia and Mallorca - we received a notification in our room that if we wanted to go into the city on our own we had to pay a 12 Euro fee for a shuttle. There was no option. We didn’t know this. Had we known, we might have booked an excursion where we wouldn’t have to pay the 12 Euros (each). This information should have been given to us earlier. 5. This is a big ship. It is complicated to get around and there is not always staff to help you figure things out. A little exploring should help, but it is definitely a challenge! This isn’t good or bad - just something I wanted to share. 6. The seated dining experience was not something I enjoyed. The tables were packed together as close as possible - and I mean just barely enough room between some of them to squeeze by. We were a couple, and were assigned to a table of six. I don’t know if you can ask for your own table but I would have preferred this. Even so, the fact that we were so many people packed in together was not a good experience. The service was not especially great either, and people did not seem to dress up for the occasion. We subsequently chose to only use seated dining three times out of the seven nights. It was also very disagreeable that staff were coming around to your table to “sell” you drink packages, or dinner packages. This is something that should not be done. 7. A few last thoughts - the cabins have both North American and European outlets. There aren’t that many though so an extension or extra outlet comes in handy. The shower has a cord for hanging wet clothes. There is a hair dryer that works well. There is a mini bar/fridge you can use with space for a few things. In the mornings I would go for my coffee (a quick trip with no fighting for elevators) and bring it to the room to sit on the balcony. Very lovely to watch the ship arriving. The decoration of this ship is themed on the Italian movie times of the 1950’s and 1960’s. Interesting posters everywhere to see.

Good Cruise in Mediterranean

MSC Divina Cruise Review by Mex56

11 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: July 2018
  • Destination: Mediterranean
  • Cabin Type: Bella Balcony Stateroom
We were looking for a cruise that fit our schedule in mid July as we would be in Geneva. We chose MSC cruise out of Marseille as it seemed like a good way to introduce my husband to the cruise experience, with a new city each day. We stayed in Marseille for a couple of days prior to embarkation. City is “gritty” and “edgy” as the reviewers have said, but it also made us a little anxious. We did however, visit some museums which were excellent, and also spent a day in Aix en Provence which was brilliant.

The trip from Marseille (downtown) to the cruise port was about 25 minutes in taxi and no trouble getting there. The MSC staff was helpful and there were very few people, so boarding was very fast. We boarded and were able to access our room immediately.

Let’s start with all the good things we found about this particular MSC cruise:

1. The food was excellent. Wherever we ate - the cafeterias, the dining room, the other eateries on the ship- the food was all top quality. We had absolutely no complaints about the quality of the food. We had bought a drinks package prior to boarding, and this I found reduced the annoyance of having to pay for each drink, or the service charges. You should know that NO beverages other than coffee,tea and plain water (not bottled) are included in the all-inclusive so you should get some sort of package if you want to enjoy your cruise. Our drinks package allowed for glasses of wine almost anywhere except our room, all alcoholic beverages, juice (except freshly squeezed we learned on the first day), and canned drinks and mineral or bottled water. It also included specialty coffees and gelato. For us this was great.

2. The cabin was large, clean, and comfortable. No complaints about the cabin itself. Good choice for us but the aft is noisy with the wake of the ship so if you don’t like that noise than it won’t be for you.

3. Itinerary. This cruise has a great itinerary and is interesting for those who like history. It goes to Genoa, Rome, Palermo, Cagliari, Palma de Mallorca and Valencia. We left from Marseille but you can choose other cities for departure. People seemed to get on and off at different sites. Mostly you are sailing at night - you get wonderful views of the ports as you sail off in the early evenings, and again views when you arrive in the mornings. Quite lovely. We did not book excursions with the cruise line because all of them left too early in the mornings for our taste (9 am or so). We did a little homework and for those cities where the ports were close we just disembarked and made our own arrangements.

4. Entertainment. It was all very good including the shows at night. The piano bar had some wonderful singers and a piano player. Very enjoyable.

Some other considerations you might find helpful from our experience.

1. Check with the reception desk at the very beginning of the cruise to determine what is included with your card and to make sure that if you pre-ordered anything, it is included on your card. You need the card for everything, including getting off the ship so keep it safe We found the staff to be relatively nice but not particularly helpful or forthcoming with information. We did a lot of “asking questions” at the reception desk because we just didn’t know about certain things - like at the beginning of the cruise “how does the drinks package work? What is included”? We weren’t provided with much information - we eventually found someone who offered us a map of the ship - on day 5, which would have been most helpful on day 1!

2. The “steward” definition on this cruise seems different from my experience on Carnival, where the Steward helped you figure things out and was there to help. In our case we barely saw the Steward, he didn’t introduce himself and when we did ask questions he was unable to answer them. This could be a cultural thing so I wouldn’t put too much into it as it didn’t ruin the cruise or anything - it would just have been nice.

3. There was no concept of line-ups, for lunch, for disembarkation, for waiting for the elevators. This could be a little annoying when we were trying to get back to our room after an excursion, or when the restaurants were busy, but again, we just assumed it was different customs so we did our best.

4. The night prior to arrival in two of the ports - Valencia and Mallorca - we received a notification in our room that if we wanted to go into the city on our own we had to pay a 12 Euro fee for a shuttle. There was no option. We didn’t know this. Had we known, we might have booked an excursion where we wouldn’t have to pay the 12 Euros (each). This information should have been given to us earlier.

5. This is a big ship. It is complicated to get around and there is not always staff to help you figure things out. A little exploring should help, but it is definitely a challenge! This isn’t good or bad - just something I wanted to share.

6. The seated dining experience was not something I enjoyed. The tables were packed together as close as possible - and I mean just barely enough room between some of them to squeeze by. We were a couple, and were assigned to a table of six. I don’t know if you can ask for your own table but I would have preferred this. Even so, the fact that we were so many people packed in together was not a good experience. The service was not especially great either, and people did not seem to dress up for the occasion. We subsequently chose to only use seated dining three times out of the seven nights. It was also very disagreeable that staff were coming around to your table to “sell” you drink packages, or dinner packages. This is something that should not be done.

7. A few last thoughts - the cabins have both North American and European outlets. There aren’t that many though so an extension or extra outlet comes in handy. The shower has a cord for hanging wet clothes. There is a hair dryer that works well. There is a mini bar/fridge you can use with space for a few things. In the mornings I would go for my coffee (a quick trip with no fighting for elevators) and bring it to the room to sit on the balcony. Very lovely to watch the ship arriving. The decoration of this ship is themed on the Italian movie times of the 1950’s and 1960’s. Interesting posters everywhere to see.
Mex56’s Full Rating Summary
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Cabin Review

Bella Balcony Stateroom
Cabin B1 8270
Our room was the best on the ship in our view.. Our travel agent recommended it, as we would never have thought of it. We were at the aft of the ship, right in the corner back room. We could hear the wake of the ship all the time and it just reminded us of the ocean waves when we are at the beach. This room is also longer and has a slightly larger balcony, and you share only one wall. The room was extremely clean. Even though our departure wasn’t until 8 pm we were able to enter our cabin by five o’clock and our documents were on the bed.
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