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This was our 32nd cruise on many different cruise lines and our 4th on the Divina. I have written positive reviews on the Divina in the past mentioning the nice ship, the interesting international diversity, the great entertainment and good food. However, I now feel compelled to write about a few issues that I hope get addressed and that other guests should know about. The first issue that guests should be prepared for is if their itinerary (or the previous ship’s itinerary) includes Columbia. Apparently, the Customs and Border Patrol found some illegal drugs in a toilet on the Divina last fall and are being very careful. The cruise before us went to Columbia and their disembarkation on Feb 21 was delayed 3 hours while every non-US citizen was fingerprinted before leaving the ship and the ship was inspected. That, in turn, caused a delay of 3 hours in our embarkation in Miami. I’m not complaining. I’m just letting you know of possible delays in case you have early flights. The second issue is the new drink packages that were changed in November. We signed up for our cruise in June. We made the reservation knowing the ship and seeing a new promotion labeled “Drinks on Us”. The package was labeled “490W19 – FREE UNLIMITED DRINKS” on the invoice. We thought this was similar to other packages on Celebrity and NCL where there are usually some limitations based on the price of the drinks. When we got on the Divina and tried get the drink of the day, we were told it was not covered by our drink package. In fact, most normal drinks like the Bahama Mama, Miami Vice, Pina Colada, Mai Tai and daily specials were not covered. They showed me the flyer about our package that stated “Savor the freedom to satisfy your thirst at any moment with a dedicated selection of house wines by the glass, one brand of draft beer (Heineken*) and/or Miller Lite bottled beer (for Caribbean itineraries only), selected spirits and cocktails, ….” It turns out that the “selected spirits” were only their “house brands” that only included Bacardi White Rum, Seagram 7, Smirnoff vodka, etc. AND only one of them per drink. Out of their menu of cocktails at the bar, only two were included in this package, and never the drink of the day. The only mixed drinks included “on their list” were “Rum & Coke, Gin & Tonic, Vodka & Lemon, Whiskey & Coke, Long Island Iced Tea, Cape Cod, Moscow Mule”. I even asked for a Rum Punch and at two bars, I was denied. The restrictions were based on the house brand, not the price of the drink. On the first day at sea, after our Cruise Critic Meet and Greet, I got an appointment with an assistant bar manager and expressed my displeasure at this overly restrictive drink package, especially compared with other cruise lines, that I was not aware of the limitations when I signed up for the cruise and the inconsistency in applying the restriction across the various bars. I also questioned why we couldn’t just pay for the difference on a drink by drink case if we needed a second spirit, like on other cruise lines. He explained that this drink package was new and they were having problems implementing it. He suggested that we buy the higher drink package, but with no discount. We declined. As a solution, we started asking for simplified drinks with only one spirit, like “Bacardi with fruit juices”. Later, some bars were serving a simplified Pina Colada even though it was not “on their list”. Related to this was the long wait times to be served at the bars. The bar staffs seemed very inefficient and unorganized. They would just make one drink at a time. There was no sharing of tasks between them (like "I'll make that drink since I'm already making one"), a lack of pre ordering one person ahead so that simple or related tasks could be combined, and poorly laid our stations requiring staff to constantly run back and forth. They also constantly added too much ice to slushy drinks before blending so that a third of the drink had to be thrown out. Combine that with their "short pouring" resulted in weak drinks compared to other ships. Also, they insisted on printing out receipts and having you sign them. What a waste of time and paper. So be prepared for long waits and weak drinks. My third issue that I raised with assistant bar manager, the Safety officer and the Environmental officer was the lack of trash receptacles and poor housekeeping in the pool deck areas, especially on sea days. No one was picking up empty drink glasses, soda cans, straws, napkins and plates. It was windy and they were tipping over, spilling out leftover ice cubes, liquids and straws with blew around on the deck, some ending up in walkways causing slippery conditions and some being blown overboard. When I discussed this issue with the MSC officers, I mentioned that Celebrity had officers stationed on the stairs looking for hazards to ensure they were cleaned up quickly and that when I complimented the Celebrity officers for their vigilance, they stated that their captain had made Safety a very high priority. I also pointed out that other ships such as Celebrity and NCL have a number of large receptacles on the pool decks for cans and trash so that guests can help in housekeeping. The MSC officers did not seen to care about these safety and environmental issues. I did not see any changes during the rest of the cruise. A final and somewhat minor issue was limited to the dining room. There were 7 of us at our table and almost every medium rare steak that we ordered was either really very rare or way overcooked. And half of them were very gristly and the plain knives were not able to cut them up. They were so bad that we ended up sending 3 of them back for replacements. Luckily, we had a great waiter and he started to pre check the steaks before bringing them up to our table. Just a heads up. Again, the ship was nice, but there needs to be improvements in these areas before I return to the Divina. It's too bad because their itineraries are very nice.

MSC Divina was nice, but . . . .

MSC Divina Cruise Review by north112

4 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: February 2019
  • Destination: Caribbean
  • Cabin Type: Fantastica Balcony Stateroom
This was our 32nd cruise on many different cruise lines and our 4th on the Divina. I have written positive reviews on the Divina in the past mentioning the nice ship, the interesting international diversity, the great entertainment and good food. However, I now feel compelled to write about a few issues that I hope get addressed and that other guests should know about.

The first issue that guests should be prepared for is if their itinerary (or the previous ship’s itinerary) includes Columbia. Apparently, the Customs and Border Patrol found some illegal drugs in a toilet on the Divina last fall and are being very careful. The cruise before us went to Columbia and their disembarkation on Feb 21 was delayed 3 hours while every non-US citizen was fingerprinted before leaving the ship and the ship was inspected. That, in turn, caused a delay of 3 hours in our embarkation in Miami. I’m not complaining. I’m just letting you know of possible delays in case you have early flights.

The second issue is the new drink packages that were changed in November. We signed up for our cruise in June. We made the reservation knowing the ship and seeing a new promotion labeled “Drinks on Us”. The package was labeled “490W19 – FREE UNLIMITED DRINKS” on the invoice. We thought this was similar to other packages on Celebrity and NCL where there are usually some limitations based on the price of the drinks. When we got on the Divina and tried get the drink of the day, we were told it was not covered by our drink package. In fact, most normal drinks like the Bahama Mama, Miami Vice, Pina Colada, Mai Tai and daily specials were not covered. They showed me the flyer about our package that stated “Savor the freedom to satisfy your thirst at any moment with a dedicated selection of house wines by the glass, one brand of draft beer (Heineken*) and/or Miller Lite bottled beer (for Caribbean itineraries only), selected spirits and cocktails, ….” It turns out that the “selected spirits” were only their “house brands” that only included Bacardi White Rum, Seagram 7, Smirnoff vodka, etc. AND only one of them per drink. Out of their menu of cocktails at the bar, only two were included in this package, and never the drink of the day. The only mixed drinks included “on their list” were “Rum & Coke, Gin & Tonic, Vodka & Lemon, Whiskey & Coke, Long Island Iced Tea, Cape Cod, Moscow Mule”. I even asked for a Rum Punch and at two bars, I was denied. The restrictions were based on the house brand, not the price of the drink.

On the first day at sea, after our Cruise Critic Meet and Greet, I got an appointment with an assistant bar manager and expressed my displeasure at this overly restrictive drink package, especially compared with other cruise lines, that I was not aware of the limitations when I signed up for the cruise and the inconsistency in applying the restriction across the various bars. I also questioned why we couldn’t just pay for the difference on a drink by drink case if we needed a second spirit, like on other cruise lines. He explained that this drink package was new and they were having problems implementing it. He suggested that we buy the higher drink package, but with no discount. We declined. As a solution, we started asking for simplified drinks with only one spirit, like “Bacardi with fruit juices”. Later, some bars were serving a simplified Pina Colada even though it was not “on their list”.

Related to this was the long wait times to be served at the bars. The bar staffs seemed very inefficient and unorganized. They would just make one drink at a time. There was no sharing of tasks between them (like "I'll make that drink since I'm already making one"), a lack of pre ordering one person ahead so that simple or related tasks could be combined, and poorly laid our stations requiring staff to constantly run back and forth. They also constantly added too much ice to slushy drinks before blending so that a third of the drink had to be thrown out. Combine that with their "short pouring" resulted in weak drinks compared to other ships. Also, they insisted on printing out receipts and having you sign them. What a waste of time and paper. So be prepared for long waits and weak drinks.

My third issue that I raised with assistant bar manager, the Safety officer and the Environmental officer was the lack of trash receptacles and poor housekeeping in the pool deck areas, especially on sea days. No one was picking up empty drink glasses, soda cans, straws, napkins and plates. It was windy and they were tipping over, spilling out leftover ice cubes, liquids and straws with blew around on the deck, some ending up in walkways causing slippery conditions and some being blown overboard. When I discussed this issue with the MSC officers, I mentioned that Celebrity had officers stationed on the stairs looking for hazards to ensure they were cleaned up quickly and that when I complimented the Celebrity officers for their vigilance, they stated that their captain had made Safety a very high priority. I also pointed out that other ships such as Celebrity and NCL have a number of large receptacles on the pool decks for cans and trash so that guests can help in housekeeping. The MSC officers did not seen to care about these safety and environmental issues. I did not see any changes during the rest of the cruise.

A final and somewhat minor issue was limited to the dining room. There were 7 of us at our table and almost every medium rare steak that we ordered was either really very rare or way overcooked. And half of them were very gristly and the plain knives were not able to cut them up. They were so bad that we ended up sending 3 of them back for replacements. Luckily, we had a great waiter and he started to pre check the steaks before bringing them up to our table. Just a heads up.

Again, the ship was nice, but there needs to be improvements in these areas before I return to the Divina. It's too bad because their itineraries are very nice.
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Cabin Review

Fantastica Balcony Stateroom
Cabin B2 12258
We were lucky and got a rear facing balcony for just about the same price as a regular balcony. The balcony was longer and afforded a great panoramic view. The only problem was when the exhaust fell our behind the ship, it left black specks on the chairs and railing.
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