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MSC Divina Cruise Review
4.0 / 5.0
Cruise Critic Editor Rating
1,756 Reviews

MSC - Lift Your Game if You Want to Attract Non European Cruisers.

MSC Divina Cruise Review by lyndarra

2 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: Nov 2019
  • Destination: the Mediterranean
  • Cabin Type: Oceanview Stateroom

This was a 20 night cruise Genoa/Miami commencing Nov 5.,

Cruising background. Celebrity x 6, HAL x 4, RCI x 3, Princess x 1, Carnival x 1. Countries cruised, Australia, New Zealand, New Guinea, Indonesia, USA, Canada, Caribbean, River cruises; Europe, USA, China, Australia. This was my first cruise as a solo cruiser due to being widowed in 2018 so it was a new experience for me.

This cruise was chosen due to its itinerary and reasonable cost, including single supplement. This was a fly/cruise package from Australia which included 2 nights pre cruise in Milan and 2 nights post cruise South Beach Miami.

We (me and my fellow Aussies) arrived Genoa mid afternoon after travelling by bus from Milan. Check went reasonably well even with a little confusion over where our passports were passed around but it got sorted soon enough. Immediately on entering Divina I was accosted (politely) by the usual up sellers. My package included the basic drink package and the sales person explained to me why I should upgrade. The basic drink package covered drinks (including, soda, water and coffee) to the value of 6 Euro. On looking at the drinks list there was very limited selection under that amount so I went for a 10 Euro/day upgrade. I'm not a big drinker but I do like a bit more variety 2 reds and 2 whites and 2 beers. The upgrade covered a large wine selection, quite a variety of beers and cocktails etc up to 10 Euros.

Initial impressions of Divina were very good, lots of bling but too many mirrors which confused many. Swarovski(?) staicases, A bit OTT..Due to Divina's size it took me a little while to get orientated.

First big disappointment was my cabin, more on that below.

Next huge disappointment was the Main Dining Room experience. My group had early sitting at a table for 6 with 7 chairs. Our table was squeezed into an alcove in one corner of the dining room. In fact, all table in the dining room seemed to have been squeezed in. There was very little room for waiters to move around when serving or pouring drinks which made their job harder than it needed to be. The room ventilation (it was hard to tell if the aircon was on) was poor and it was very stuffy in our little alcove. A couple dining with us managed to score a move to another not so hot spot. The remainder, myself and two other Aussie blokes, could not get a move.

The menu selections looked good on paper but what appeared in front of us was very mediocre. The chefs (?) must be on a tight budget as ingredients were minimal and not of great quality and never served hot. I'm guessing courses were plated well in advance of serving. On one occasion my appetiser of crumbed squid rings, served on a paper napkin on a plate, arrived cold. The cooking oil had been absorbed by the napkin and looked disgusting. I called the head waiter and showed him. He took it away and a few minutes later returned with a serving that was nice and hot, straight from the fryer. This was the only time I got a dish that was hot. Vegetables, was usually boiled to death broccoli or very sorry looking asparagus. Occasionally there some (few) green beans or peas. A few times I ordered some Italian dishes but these were just as disappointing as the rest mostly lacking in any intensity of flavour. If it wasn't for the good company of my dining mates, (one of whom was a retired chef and he was scathing of the food dished up) I would have dined in the buffet.

The wait staff were stretched, there weren't enough of them for the number of diners. Serving times, from ordering to serving, were erratic but usually overlong and orders were mixed up. Poor Sweetie, that was our waitress's name. She was a sweetie but under too much pressure - she did her best.

One sore point is water. Unless you have a drink package, expect to pay for water when dining. How cheap is MSC?

Lunches and breakfast I usually alternated between the MDR and buffet. The MDR because I could sit and chat with other cruisers, and the buffet for its reasonable variety. Never had any problems finding somewhere to sit.

There are many bars spread about the ship and the ones I tried had good service, and compared to most other cruises I've been on, reasonable coffee.

Entertainment was so-so. No shows as such, more like small concerts usually of a classical nature, violinist, pianist, soprano and tenor. Some dancing. It appears this is the European style of entertainment. Towards the end of the cruise there was great excitement about a Queen tribute. Along with many others, we three made the effort to get a to the theatre on time to ensure we got a good seat, we did.It turned out to be the worst tribute show I have ever experienced. It was excruciating to watch. Canned music for a start (there is no ship band or orchestra). A lead singer who was not a patch on Freddie Mercury. It was hard to recognise some of the Queen hits as they were sung in an "operatic" style which did not work at all. Another song was accompanied by acrobats on ribbons from the ceiling. I don't get that at all. I eventually walked out in disgust. My two mates stayed till the end but said it didn't get any better. Evening entertainment usually lasted about 30 minutes including the six language intro by the cruise director. "That's all folks".

Time for a rant. There is smoking in the casino at all times. Not only that, there was an atrium above the casino and smoke wafted up to a bar on the next deck which had a very good guitar playing and singing couple. It was a very popular bar and I would have liked to have spent time there but the smoke was too much for me.

There was not much activity during sea days for me. There junior school level craft classes. There was trivia but not as regular as I would like and every question was asked in six languages. I read a few books from the very small library on the 6 sea days across the Atlantic.Dancing classes were popular.

I could go on but I've said enough. I wont be cruising MSC again any time soon. Having said that, they do offer affordable cruising but you only get what you pay for, as the saying goes.

As for immigration entering US at Puerto Rico, you can read about that in other reviews. It was a shambles.

lyndarra's Full Rating Summary
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Cabin Review

Oceanview Stateroom

This is the smallest cabin I have ever experienced. I would guess that this cabin was planned as a single occupancy only into which a king bed has been squeezed. Why do I think this? There was only storage and closet space for one person. One narrow hanging closet and one chest of (5) drawers. I'm glad there wasn't two of us in this room. There was no chair, there wasn't enough space, which also meant no sofa. The only thing to sit on, other than the bed, was an upholstered box under a tiny writing desk. There was barely enough room from the foot of the bed to the bathroom wall to fit the drawers.

The very small TV was on a shelf up against the ceiling. This meant the screen was viewed from below what would be a normal level and the picture looked dark. It was worse when watching an in house movie. It was like looking at the seat back screen next to you on an air plane but from below. Picture was fine at eye level but one can't stand and watch a movie for two hours. During the Atlantic crossing, and all the way to Miami, there was no English language programs, news, etc. The screen was also not adjustable to face it downward. Not good enough.

However the bathroom was good. Compact but featured a curved glass shower screen. Plenty of counter top space. But NO TISSUES ARE PROVIDED. Many, many guests were complaining about that. More penny pinching by MSC. The shower had two dispensers for shower gel and shampoo/conditioner.

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