In 2015, I had traveled on the MSC Divina to the Caribbean. It was a good trip on a ship that needed some upgrades but not unacceptable. In 2019, I again traveled on the Divina – repositioning cruise Milan to Miami. I was so disappointed in the condition of the ship, the food, the entertainment, the coldness of the officers and the rudeness of European fellow passengers.
There were no amenities in the cabin - not even a box of tissues. I resorted to buying my own in different ports. The bed couldn’t be separated into twin beds even though I had requested that when I made my reservation. We could view the tops of the lifeboats from our balcony. They were dirty and rusty in parts. The sensors in the elevator doors weren’t working properly. We never knew how many times they would have to open and close before the car moved. Frayed carpeting near staircases were a potential hazard. Our safe malfunctioned and had to be replaced. Our tv set stopped working and no one could fix it, therefore no tv.
In Barbados, there was a problem with the water system. It was shut off ship wide until repairs could be made according to Guest Services. Unfortunately, this was a beach day for many of the passengers. I, for one, didn’t appreciate having to go to the Dining Room full of sand and lotion. The water was turned on too late for a timely shower before dinner.
On a different day, there was a huge leak in the hallway on my deck. Water was coming out of the ceiling like a waterfall.
The food was not enjoyable. We returned items frequently. Many nights what arrived at the table did not even closely resemble what the menu described. Meat of any kind was tough and difficult to cut.
The entertainment was opera and classical music based. Even the pop music shows had a stilted feel to them. Opera singers do not sing rock and roll successfully. The Cruise Director was only seen at the beginning of a show. I couldn’t even tell you his name.
The officers, especially those in white uniforms, constantly walked right by us without even a nod. Even if we said “good morning”, several kept walking without acknowledging us. Guest services were no help either. Every time I called or went in person, they offered no solution, often just replying, “Company Policy”.
Since I speak several languages, I am not bothered by non-English conversations around me. I mention this as a caveat to fellow Americans who are usually mono-lingual. Do not book a voyage on a ship that caters to Europeans. You will be very uncomfortable. No one will even greet you even in their language. The rudeness I encountered on this ship was unbelievable. What I don’t understand about the Europeans was a sense of entitlement and cultural arrogance. They would walk right into you and never say “excuse me”. The greediness at the buffet line was astonishing. The amounts of food they would take were incredible, even to the point of leaving nothing behind in the tray. Who were they feeding?
The fiasco in San Juan was beyond description. We were told that everyone had to leave the ship for a face to face meeting with American immigration We would not be allowed back on board until everyone had been seen anticipating a 4pm re-boarding. The passengers started to return to the cruise terminal around that time. Time passed and it was almost 6pm when we were allowed to get back on. No explanations from anyone. In the meantime, the crowd was becoming impatient and ugly. There was much shoving, whistling, screaming and actual punching among the tired and angry passengers. Absolutely no one from MSC was there to explain the delays or to help with crowd control. It was a very bad and dangerous situation. Then to add insult to injury, when it finally was my turn to approach the security check I was shoved aside by a Yacht Club butler who yelled “priority” as he escorted his passengers through. No common courtesy or even recognition that other human beings were there.
The only positive things I wish to note are the price of the trip, the itinerary and several individuals who went out of their way to help all passengers feel comfortable. The cost was $1,089 which was quite a good deal. The ports of call were excellent but there was a misunderstanding about an overnight in San Juan. Leaving port at 2am does not constitute an overnight for passengers looking forward to 2 days in San Juan.
The following crew members deserve mention for their kindness and professionalism: Photographer: Nikola Vujcic, Waiter,Black Crab restaurant: JR De La Cruz, Entertainment team: Michelle Rosales, Dance Instructors: Raymond Araujo-Peña and Karlina German, Waiter, Doges Piazza: Roxan Reyes, Waitress, Golden Jazz Lounge: Beenisha and Excursions: Fabio.
My recommendation for Americans – Stay off MSC ships. There are much better companies and much more pleasant trips for your hard earned money.