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We have been on NCL's Haven several times and enjoyed this immensely. However, their pricing has gone through the roof, and since we're also Canadian, NCL for now priced itself out of our range. We learned that MSC's Yacht Club (YC) on Divina could be a great alternative, with much more reasonable prices. Given the price difference, we knew to not expect the same high quality product as on NCL or Celebrity for that matter, but we anticipated at least something really good, especially being in the Yacht Club. We stayed in stateroom 15025. It was lovely. Great Butler (Sidonie). The balcony was sized appropriately. The room was clean and maintained well. However, on boarding we noted black water coming out of our bathroom tap! We were told this was due to recent maintenance of the plumbing, which is fine as the water cleared up after about 10 minutes of running it. Dining was a bit of a minefield. You had to listen closely to your waiter when he described the menu and then hopefully could guide you as to a good choice of entree etc. However, several waiters really did not offer this type of guidance. And in the end, no matter what one chose from the menu, there were problems. Mind you, they made the best lobster tails we've had at sea or even on land, but that's it. Other dishes were plated poorly to say the least and some were virtually inedible. I often just went for the alternate entrees that are always available. So almost every dinner I had the filet of beef. The meat quality was poor, and had a consistency suggesting that the meats were tenderized (e.g. with papain). We ate in two alternate dining rooms, Eataly and Galaxy. The former used to be their steak restaurant but no more. It's basically an Italian restaurant with admittedly excellent pizza! The Galaxy is mainly Asian tending to Japanese. The sushi here was interesting. The fish was obviously fresh and tasty but the use of rice was seriously overdone! When ordering you could substitute (say you don't like eel, and ask instead for salmon), you were charged even if you had a free dining package. But the charges were minimal; just annoying. We also noted that unlike the Haven or Sky Suite level on Celebrity we were asked for our Sea Passes way too often. On the other lines, once they know you, they don't ask again. To sum up the dining experience then, it did not even reach a level that we anticipated given the lower fare prices we paid. Apart from some standouts (lobster/pizza), the best compliment we could give for any one meal was, it wasn't bad! Finally in relation to dining, the outside buffet was limited in YC but the pasta chef there was excellent! So this was where we generally had lunch. The entertainment and activities were done well! The small ensemble groups were excellent! The theatre shows, not so much. We attended their version of La Traviata. The quality of the singing was such that one had to cover one's ears when some really bad notes were hit (and missed). But I would never expect opera on a ship to even approach the standards of, say, The Met and so I would still award kudos to MSC for trying something different. This said, theatre shows on NCL like Burn the Floor, and The Million Dollar Quartet were of excellent quality. Not Broadway but darned good. MSC needs to up their game in the larger theatre productions. The staff on this line are wonderful! I cannot say enough good about their friendliness and dedication to service. This said, we noted that surfaces of brass and the like were not cleaned often and were covered in hand-prints. On other lines you could not go more than 30 feet before seeing someone cleaning and polishing all surfaces but this was a rarity on MSC. I was surprised that they don't get Norovirus outbreaks more often than other ships quite frankly. When asking for a particular service one also had to be extremely precise! And even then, an order or orders were frequently mixed up. One really nice touch for YC pax is that a key card can be used to get express elevator service on the bank of elevators serving that area. Great idea! We did not use their shore excursions. The ports on this cruise were quite nice including St. Maarten. The YC deck has literally no shade but we knew that and brought our own umbrellas that attach to the chair (Versa-Brella). These were perfect and we recommend this for anyone who needs some shade. I subscribe to the notion that 'you get what you pay for', and didn't expect a 5 star experience for all aspects of the cruise. But in some areas we did see 4-5 star service/product, while in other important areas including dining I would say that we had a 2.5-3 star experience.

MSC Tries Hard But Not Quite There

MSC Divina Cruise Review by hctkbt

6 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: December 2018
  • Destination: Western Caribbean
  • Cabin Type: Yacht Club Deluxe Suite
We have been on NCL's Haven several times and enjoyed this immensely. However, their pricing has gone through the roof, and since we're also Canadian, NCL for now priced itself out of our range. We learned that MSC's Yacht Club (YC) on Divina could be a great alternative, with much more reasonable prices. Given the price difference, we knew to not expect the same high quality product as on NCL or Celebrity for that matter, but we anticipated at least something really good, especially being in the Yacht Club.

We stayed in stateroom 15025. It was lovely. Great Butler (Sidonie). The balcony was sized appropriately. The room was clean and maintained well. However, on boarding we noted black water coming out of our bathroom tap! We were told this was due to recent maintenance of the plumbing, which is fine as the water cleared up after about 10 minutes of running it.

Dining was a bit of a minefield. You had to listen closely to your waiter when he described the menu and then hopefully could guide you as to a good choice of entree etc. However, several waiters really did not offer this type of guidance. And in the end, no matter what one chose from the menu, there were problems. Mind you, they made the best lobster tails we've had at sea or even on land, but that's it. Other dishes were plated poorly to say the least and some were virtually inedible. I often just went for the alternate entrees that are always available. So almost every dinner I had the filet of beef. The meat quality was poor, and had a consistency suggesting that the meats were tenderized (e.g. with papain). We ate in two alternate dining rooms, Eataly and Galaxy. The former used to be their steak restaurant but no more. It's basically an Italian restaurant with admittedly excellent pizza! The Galaxy is mainly Asian tending to Japanese. The sushi here was interesting. The fish was obviously fresh and tasty but the use of rice was seriously overdone! When ordering you could substitute (say you don't like eel, and ask instead for salmon), you were charged even if you had a free dining package. But the charges were minimal; just annoying. We also noted that unlike the Haven or Sky Suite level on Celebrity we were asked for our Sea Passes way too often. On the other lines, once they know you, they don't ask again. To sum up the dining experience then, it did not even reach a level that we anticipated given the lower fare prices we paid. Apart from some standouts (lobster/pizza), the best compliment we could give for any one meal was, it wasn't bad! Finally in relation to dining, the outside buffet was limited in YC but the pasta chef there was excellent! So this was where we generally had lunch.

The entertainment and activities were done well! The small ensemble groups were excellent! The theatre shows, not so much. We attended their version of La Traviata. The quality of the singing was such that one had to cover one's ears when some really bad notes were hit (and missed). But I would never expect opera on a ship to even approach the standards of, say, The Met and so I would still award kudos to MSC for trying something different. This said, theatre shows on NCL like Burn the Floor, and The Million Dollar Quartet were of excellent quality. Not Broadway but darned good. MSC needs to up their game in the larger theatre productions.

The staff on this line are wonderful! I cannot say enough good about their friendliness and dedication to service. This said, we noted that surfaces of brass and the like were not cleaned often and were covered in hand-prints. On other lines you could not go more than 30 feet before seeing someone cleaning and polishing all surfaces but this was a rarity on MSC. I was surprised that they don't get Norovirus outbreaks more often than other ships quite frankly.

When asking for a particular service one also had to be extremely precise! And even then, an order or orders were frequently mixed up. One really nice touch for YC pax is that a key card can be used to get express elevator service on the bank of elevators serving that area. Great idea!

We did not use their shore excursions. The ports on this cruise were quite nice including St. Maarten.

The YC deck has literally no shade but we knew that and brought our own umbrellas that attach to the chair (Versa-Brella). These were perfect and we recommend this for anyone who needs some shade.

I subscribe to the notion that 'you get what you pay for', and didn't expect a 5 star experience for all aspects of the cruise. But in some areas we did see 4-5 star service/product, while in other important areas including dining I would say that we had a 2.5-3 star experience.
hctkbt’s Full Rating Summary
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Cabin Review

Yacht Club Deluxe Suite
Cabin YC1 15025
See my overall review for the Cabin. It was lovely.
Urano Deck Suite Cabins