We chose the MSC Divina cruise in the Mediterranean because of its unique itinerary for a seven night cruise and because of the opportunity to have a choice of ports from which to embark. Both of these were different from the other cruise line's offerings and paid it off. Also, since we were flying from Los Angeles to Europe, we wanted to see as much as we could each day, so no days at sea was exactly what I was looking for.
We chose to board in Marseille since my husband wanted to spend a couple days in Paris prior to the cruise. As for the cabin, we paid for an inside guarantee with the "Fantastica" experience and were very surprised to be upgraded to a mid-ship balcony. Although the ship is a bit dated, it was very clean, the service was excellent across the board and the balcony cabin was very roomy. Our cabin attendant - I Putu Kertajaya, was excellent, and honored our requests.
The itinerary included Marseille, Genoa, Civitavecchia (for Rome), Palermo, Cagliari, Palma de Mallorca, and Valencia.
We were fortunate weather-wise with only two days of rain and good weather for the rest of the ports at the end of May, and to have calm seas.
Previously having sailed many times with Princess, Royal Caribbean, Norwegian, Disney, and Carnival, I was curious about what differences would exist with MSC, so I read many Cruise Critic reviews. I learned that there would be differences from the above mentioned cruise-lines in the food and entertainment offerings so I was not surprised to find this to be the case. Both the buffet and the dining room menus have less entree options. Also, our "Fantastica" level of service included water bottles at meals in the dining room, (we found out late into the cruise) all who had not paid for this had to purchase water at lunch and dinner in the dining room just to get a glass of water with the meal. We were accustomed to being served free water at lunch and dinner in the dining rooms prior to this experience, so this was an unusual difference for us. Also, the entertainment in the theatre was not innovative or inspired and had the nightly repetition of the same talent, unlike others we have sailed with, but I was aware this would be the case from the reviews I had read.
A variety of styles of music and dancing could be found in the lounges for those who enjoy that.
The ports were all very pleasing and we explored most of them on our own taking trains and buses with the exception of two ship's excursions.
Since people were embarking and debarking each day on this itinerary, it was hard to get a Cruise Critic meeting or Meet & Mingle party together. Also, with no days at sea, time was limited. We received a note in our cabin that the meeting date was cancelled, but then rescheduled for dinner in the Asian Fusion (new) Galaxy lounge/restaurant. This was a delightful sushi dinner with two ship's officers and just four of us Cruise Critic members. It was a very special evening for us on the ship and the two officers were extremely friendly and personable. This was one of the highlights.
We had a really good week with the knowledge that this experience would be different in terms of food and entertainment. If you are accustomed to the cruise-lines mentioned above or the luxury lines, you will have a good time IF you are aware of differences and change your expectations...it's all in the expectations and this was a great daily itinerary.
Roomy mid-ship balcony cabin...a bit dated, but clean with excellent attendant: I Putu Kertajaya. A nice sized balcony, also. 10161 is in a great location.
Marseille is a beautiful city, we had visited previously and could not take an excursion this time since it was the port we were embarking at and debarking a week later. Take the mini train from the Vieux Port up to the Cathedral for an enjoyable time on your own.
On our own, after exiting the port, we took a train and a bus to Boccadasse and spent a couple hours there - beautiful! Then we took a bus to town and walked for hours, finishing the day at the harbor area attractions.
On our own, we took the port bus to a city bus, and then on to the train station, then a train to Rome. After leaving the Termini station, we took a bus to the Pantheon area and then walked for hours to piazzas and other will known areas prior to taking a bus back to Termini and then the train back to Civitavecchia.
Erice would have been gorgeous, I'm sure, had we been able to see it - we were in a cloud, so fog prevented us from seeing past 8 feet. It was raining also and it was rushed. I would have loved Erice in decent weather! Tour should have been cancelled.View All 4 Erice Walking Tour Reviews
Tour should have been cancelled due to bad weather and wind. It was dangerous walking in strong wind and rain, so just a quick close glance at the ancient structure was possible before heading back. Had it not been for the weather and wind, a great to see!View All 3 Segesta Walking Tour Reviews
This was a tour to an olive oil factory/museum and a tour of a winery (not vineyards) with a tasting room and samples from the Argiolas Winery.View All undefined undefined Reviews
Palma de Mallorca is a beautiful city and we saw it on our own. We took the "quick" city bus to town and walked for hours. Then took a standard city bus back to the cruise port.
Valencia is a beautiful city! We saw it on our own by taking city buses to both the City of Arts & Sciences and then another bus to the town center. We walked for miles prior to taking a public bus back to the port.