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14 MSC Cruises MSC Divina Cruise Reviews for Group and Theme Cruises to Caribbean - Eastern

We sailed on MSC Divina because we got got a bargain and to entice us we were "matched" to the level on NCL/Carnival, we found the ship to be nicely designed, our cabin was comfortable and the amount of amenities and dinning was ... Read More
We sailed on MSC Divina because we got got a bargain and to entice us we were "matched" to the level on NCL/Carnival, we found the ship to be nicely designed, our cabin was comfortable and the amount of amenities and dinning was plentiful, we were hesitant because people's reviews had made it seem like there was too much pasta on the menus, we found the opposite, the food was very tasty and the selections was great, they still need to work out a few kinks, in the black crab restaurant ( where we were assigned ) we had to wait for our coffee to accompany our desserts, but it seems like every cruise line is cutting staff and you don't get quite the prompt service that we expect. The itinerary was wonderful too, going to shore and coming back into the ship was painless and we loved the fact that the ship stayed longer in ports than most cruises we have taken, that was nice surprised. Another pleasant surprise was the entertainment in the theater, we enjoyed all of the shows, they did an amazing job and would certainly would do another MSC Cruise. Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
This ship was chosen to host the 15th annual Holistic Holiday at Sea vegan cruise. I was looking forward to cruising with MSC and expected it to far surpass previous experiences on the Carnival ships. I was disappointed. The crew on the ... Read More
This ship was chosen to host the 15th annual Holistic Holiday at Sea vegan cruise. I was looking forward to cruising with MSC and expected it to far surpass previous experiences on the Carnival ships. I was disappointed. The crew on the MSC seems to like saying NO more than they say YES and I found them to be non-customer service oriented. Bar service was extremely slow and the dining room staff was flat out rude more than once. Even the pool staff had no problem telling me I was 2 minutes too late to get a dry towel one day. Really? The cabin was fine, as was our cabin steward. The beds are not that comfortable, barely more than cots with a thin pad, but it was vacation and it was fine. The ship itself is beautiful, no complaints. We had one problem with an excursion in Martinique and discovered the MSC excursion staff onboard to be inflexible in our request to cancel a similar excursion in an upcoming port. They need to make sure their excursion descriptions are accurate. When I disembarked, I swore I would never cruise MSC again. However, in retrospect, I would change that to a "maybe". One of the biggest differences I noticed was that there is no assigned dining table or section of dining room, so you don't have the same waiters for the entire cruise. What this means is that those waiters are not getting tips at the end of the cruise, and tipping is "strongly discouraged", therefore they have little incentive to provide a great experience for the guests. And it shows. I might go on another MSC cruise just because I know what to expect now. Other cruisers on this trip did have some comments on the service level as well, so I know it was not just our experience or perception. Read Less
Sail Date February 2018
My poor experiences began with the Voyager's Club matching program. Attempting to reach anyone regarding service was extremely difficult. The company created two Voyager Club accounts for me. One account at Silver Level and one at ... Read More
My poor experiences began with the Voyager's Club matching program. Attempting to reach anyone regarding service was extremely difficult. The company created two Voyager Club accounts for me. One account at Silver Level and one at Gold Level. The Gold Level was correct and the Silver incorrect. Both utilized the same email and should have been a clue to the issue. The office paired my cruise with the Silver Level. They explained they could not change it after the pairing. I exchanged multiple emails and phone calls and there was "zero" help in having the correct account paired. I was hung up on once. (The representative said that she had a bad connection.) I used the website and requested multiple call backs. I never received requested call backs. In fact, they even accused the error on me, at one point. The website is a complete joke at maneuverability. The embarkation process was the smoothest of any cruise that we'd been on. But that's pretty much where the service ends. When we received our Cruise Cards, it did not have the "All Inclusive Drink Package," that was part of our Aurea booking. We went to Guest Relations and the representative noted that we would have to provide verification. Luckily, I brought verification but had to go to the room and retrieve the verification. Upon presenting it, we were told they'd need to confirm with the home office. I asked how long that would take. They did not know. I asked if I could receive a call that evening (first day of the cruise) and was assured that I could. That evening, we received a flyer that we'd "missed" muster. In fact, we made muster and I even had photos. So I called about the poorly worded letter that was addressed and left in our cabin. The attendant said just ignore it and did not apologize. I then asked about the new cruise cards. The representative said that I would have to come down to Guest Services. I explained that I just wanted a yes or a no. She said it had been resolved. I noted that I would be down the following day. Again, no apology for the Cruise Line's error. I must say that the lady that created our new tags did an amazing job in trying to correct for the lousy experiences that we'd previously had. She needs to train the rest of the Guest Services Staff. The food, on board, was the worst that I'd seen on any cruise line. It was bland and generally no flavor or bad flavor. There were usually only one chicken selection. My partner can't eat red meat and was limited to few things on the selection. Every day the breakfast selection was the same. It did not change in selections even once. I still can't figure out how fried vegetables ends up in the "healthy food" section. Cold items were normally warm and warm items were cold in the center. The buffet layout was a disaster. Guests did not use hand sanitizing stations. No one made them do it. Guests picked up food with their bare hands. Some took bites and put it back on the buffet. Some put spoons up to their nose and then replaced them in the serving platters. It was just poorly attended and monitored. In fact, people pushed and shoved and made the experience horrible. One evening, someone knocked a hot dog from my hand and it flew across the floor. It's like the guests had never seen food before. I started to clean the mess and a floor attendant came up to clean up. She was amazingly sweet. I apologized and she assured me it was not a problem. She then went to the front of the buffet and picked up a couple mustard packets that had fallen. That was spectacular service and was the best customer service experience that we'd had. I swear, you should have this young lady teach all the rest of the staff about customer service. Bar service was incredibly slow. 10 to 15 minutes to receive a drink. Bar tenders used the same shot glasses to mix different drinks. I never saw anything being washed or cleaned. The quickest service was at the back bar and that was still slow. The entertainment was from bizarre to great. I can't figure out why the Freddie Mercury tribute had opera singers and an aerialist. None of the voices had the power to represent Freddie's power. This show should have rocked but it was almost sleep inducing. In turn, the Michael Jackson tribute was amazing. Even though it was largely lip synched. It was awesome. The rest of the entertainment and the performers in the atrium were great. The itinerary listed above is wrong. It's reasonable that you changed venues because of the destruction in the Eastern Caribbean. What is not acceptable is that you made a stop on and in Jamaica. I was part of a group of 300+ gay guests. And the cruise line thought it was appropriate to stop at an island that is so adversarial to anyone that this LGBT? How does that even happen? You took a ship that contained many gay people to an island where Homosexuality is still illegal. This was a fail in planning and execution. Something out of your control was the rudeness of the majority of the guests on board. I think calling them rude is giving them the benefit of the doubt as many were simply nasty. It was so bad that we preferred to walk the cabin decks as opposed to level 14 as it limited contact with people pushing and shoving and being horrible to each other. To add insult to injury, people using strollers made tight spaces even worse and not one apologized for taking up so much room and space. I would like to point out, it was rather inappropriate for crew members to assume that our group was responsible for indecency in the steam room. Your staff learned that the perpetrators had nothing to do with our group. Shame on you for making assumptions. Our cabin attendant was very nice and attentive. There was nothing extra or unexpected but he did a good job keeping the cabin clean. I still don't know why it was so difficult to have wash rags in the cabin. Apparently, it's a European thing. All in all, I can't see recommending MSC to anyone. As someone who has been on many cruises, this left a bad impression on me and on many of the others. I would recommend that your company start with basic customer service classes. Just start at the basic level. Then move on to food safety and preparation. That is the least that we should expect from a cruise. I wish you luck, but I don't think we'll ever be on another MSC ship. Read Less
Sail Date October 2017
I liked it so much but some times i got bored with the food because my cruise was for two weeks and the food was always the same. In one opportinity I asked at the buffet for an orange juice to the waiter and the rude waiter said you can ... Read More
I liked it so much but some times i got bored with the food because my cruise was for two weeks and the food was always the same. In one opportinity I asked at the buffet for an orange juice to the waiter and the rude waiter said you can go and get it your self and i have the all the drinks included. another issue was that I payed 30 mins of massage at the spa for couple and i got only 25 mins, taking into the account that the prices at the spa are very high i was expecting a very good service but it was dissapointing and what is worst I didnt get the complimentary tea that was advertaised at the moment of the purchase of themassage- another thing that i didnt like is that the guys that were helping all the passangers to book a new cruise they were very mean, specially the lady. The medical center or service was very expensive i got very sick the last 3 days but i couldnt see the doctor because it was way too expensive and the price didnt include medication .the rest of the cruise was fun and i wanted to thanks for the service and the capitan was very nice and the rest of the crew too. Read Less
Sail Date July 2016
I went on this cruise because it was with a group. The group portion was fantastic and will def do it again! The Divina is a beautiful ship and has many different style lounges & music. Some of the music groups were live as others ... Read More
I went on this cruise because it was with a group. The group portion was fantastic and will def do it again! The Divina is a beautiful ship and has many different style lounges & music. Some of the music groups were live as others played with a dvd and programmer. Problem with this is that it takes away the 'live-ness' of the room Prefer full live people. The Production Shows in the Theatre were fantastic! Always the best shows!! The Divina is a spotless ship! There is nothing ever out of order in the public areas. They keep this ship in excellent condition. Officers & Crew very friendly and always speak directly to you. Our stateroom was spotless and our attendant was friendly and did a grat job. The large buffet is your typical ship buffet. Has all the things you would want but hands down.... had the best pizza on any ship!!!! Over 660 pizzas per day! The food is fresh and they have daily specials. Crew was there to make sure tables and areas were kept clean. Had no problems there. FYI - I now like going to the dining room for lunch. It's quiet and air conditioned and it's nice having a server to handle it all. Dining Room on the Divina for dinner is a hit or miss. This has been a major issue for aa long time. The service is horrible which causes the food to be a problem. Things that are suppose to be hot come out cold and things that are suppose to be cold come our arm. I honestly believe (as many) that there are way too many tables and chairs! 2 top and ow 4 tops, 4 tops are now 6 tops, 6 tops are now 8 and the 10 tops are for 12. Waiters can't give the best because of this so it effects everything else. With that being said, once we got Matri D Gelu the head waiter Christian, the remaining 5 days were excellent and the food along with the service were fine. I guess you should ask when you get in the dining room for faster service. Yacht Club: AWESOME AND THERE IS NOTHING THAT CAN TOP THIS! From the private curbside service to the private lounge, private pool and deck, private lunch buffet, private dining in The Muse, INCREDIBLE AND IMPECCABLE SERVICE! Overall, I really like the Divina, the Officers and its Crew! Read Less
Sail Date June 2016
This was my first cruise. We arrived at the port at 11:30 using Jiffy Jeff transportation. Well The terminal was packed as it was a partially chartered ship most of the group (claim 800 people) many of which were arriving together on ... Read More
This was my first cruise. We arrived at the port at 11:30 using Jiffy Jeff transportation. Well The terminal was packed as it was a partially chartered ship most of the group (claim 800 people) many of which were arriving together on multiple buses. We went into the terminal an saw a sign "boarding will be delayed". Come to find out the prior cruise was "Holy Ship" a chartered techno dance music cruise an they apparently had too much fun with multiple people being arrested, slight damage to the ships as they said but I didn't see anything wrong other than some TV's an framed pictures weren't level. Also they had to have a crane take down the stage they brought with them from the pool deck. We finally boarded around 1:45 an went straight up to the buffet on deck 14. Food was good the entire trip buffet and MDR. My only issue was portion sizes were smaller than expected. 10 small raviolis does not make an entrée but that's just my opinion. Meats were cooked well as were the fish pasta and PIZZA!!!. We were allowed into our cabins at 3:05 an dropped off our carry on bags then went to explore the rest of the ship. One thing many didn't like was the aft elevators only went to the Villa Rossa Restaurant and not the Black Crab on deck 6 which confused a majority of the older people who got very upset they had gone down then have to go back up an over an down again in another elevator. First two nights at dinner we watched people come in 10-20 min late because of it. Now as for dress code at dinner - Personally I found it a joke that my in-laws who have been on MSC before claimed EVERYONE dresses up. Well that sure was NOT the case for our cruise. many men did wear jackets but I'd say it was only 50-60% majority did like me dress shirt tie wth nice pants. The only people we saw turned away were a family who showed up at 6:55 when 1st dinner was 5:45 an expected to be seated. St. Thomas we docked at Havensight which was nice for shopping and had plenty of taxis available to get into town if you weren't willing to walk. It wasn't very hot maybe 70 at best when we first got off but was mid 70s by the time for all onboard. San Juan was much warmer and before we were let off they announced the pier would be shut down due to another ship coming right across from us at 11:45am so they could do all the ropes without passengers being in the way. Well the ship ended up coming closer to 12 an they shut down the pier for a good 30-45min maybe even an hour as they couldn't seem to get the ropes how they needed to be. If you are going to take the free trolley around town I suggest going to stop #14 across from the CVS right on the main road same side as the pier. Stop 1 was a madhouse but we got seats since we were on early due to boarding at 14. We skipped Great Stirrup Cay due to poor sea conditions the tenders weren't able to handle safely so we ended up with a 3rd sea day an the crew scrambled to get entertainment available. We ended up going extremely slow an sometimes stopped for a while since we couldn't go back to Miami early. As for entertainment the dancers, musicians and acrobats were all very good my only issue was the stage lighting. we usually sat towards the middle/ back (bottom of the steps) and the steps on the stage were too bright yet the rest of the lights on the performers were too dim you couldn't really see the detail in the costumes or their faces. (IMHO). Debarkation was smooth we had to go to the theater at 8:15 but we ended up being allowed off at 8. Inside the terminal it was like the airport with rows of conveyor belts all marked with colors of the tags. Small issue with some of the other passengers we had 2 colors as we were two different cabins yellow an pink. Well we had found the pink bags instantly an dragged them to the yellow area, many people were so rude thinking just because we had pink bags it was the pink section which it wasn't and clearly marked it wasn't. One guy threatened to fight an employee because nobody told them they were waiting in the wrong area. HELLO the big YELLOW board over the conveyor belt kinda gives the answer. We got our bags went down the short hallway quickly went through customs as we didn't purchase anything expensive an were out waiting for Jiffy Jeff within 30miin of getting off the boat. Read Less
Sail Date February 2016
Was on the the Divina Cruise for a week and was disappointed. The embarkment took almost 2 hours. One of the people in my group was held in a holding area for 3 hours due to a problem with her identification she had. They made her wait ... Read More
Was on the the Divina Cruise for a week and was disappointed. The embarkment took almost 2 hours. One of the people in my group was held in a holding area for 3 hours due to a problem with her identification she had. They made her wait until they were able to get someone to approve her to board while everyone and workers had all left the check-in area and they finally let her board. We were later informed of law enforcement's were on the ship because they has problems from the previous cruise. We also had law enforcement's on come aboard on the 3rd day of the cruise. The food in the buffet was warm to cold and the dinners were mediocre at best. The waiters in the dining room most of them did not understand English and if you wanted to change something to the meal they did not understand enough to make the request. Our cabin was clean but I did hear some other cabins were not as good. Did not need to attend the entertainment onboard as we were with a very large group that provided their own entertainment in the lounges. Which who were not part of our group were able to enjoy the entertainment when they played poolside or late at night. The disembarkation went well enough we were the last group to leave the ship. Read Less
Sail Date February 2016
My wife and I usually take a cruise in April so we started looking last December, we love the Eastern Caribbean and especially St. Martin so when we saw that the Divina was going there we started reading reviews and almost decided against ... Read More
My wife and I usually take a cruise in April so we started looking last December, we love the Eastern Caribbean and especially St. Martin so when we saw that the Divina was going there we started reading reviews and almost decided against it. Let me start by saying this was our 24th cruise on 5 different cruise lines and we can honestly say we have never had a "BAD" cruise. This ship departs from Miami at 8 PM so everyone has plenty of time to fly in the same day and make the ship, we liked that being from Texas and arrived in Miami around 2 PM, a quick 20 minute taxi ride to the ship and we were in the terminal . This was our first MSC cruise so we did not have priority boarding. This was the easiest, fastest and friendliest embarkation we have ever had. Upon entering the ship we were greeted by friendly staff and told where the food was. We went up to the 14th deck and got in line at the buffet and there was plenty of choices. The food on the buffet was as good as any we have ever had on a cruise ship. Unlike other ships we have been on there is pizza on this ship anytime and you do not have to wait on it. The dining room food was normal for cruise food, not many dessert items but ok. The wait staff in the dinning room was excellent and we had no complaints. The entertainment was excellent, the only show we did not care for was the opera but that is just not our cup of tea. We had cabin # 11084 and it is in the corner so we had a large balcony, we would have enjoyed that a lot more except for the neighbors smoking. MSC says no smoking on balconys but they might as well say no sleeping in your cabin. We do not normally use the casino because of all the smokers but this ship must of had an excellent vent system because we did not smell any, very pleasant. The disembarkation was as easy as embarkation, docked at 7 AM and was off by 8AM. To sum this review up we were very happy with this cruise line and ship. We are glad we did not let the negative reviewer's talk us out of it. Read Less
Sail Date April 2014
My husband and I got off the Divina this morning, and for once I was happy a cruise ended. The good points: 1. Great shows!!! There was a good variety of themes and the performers were terrific!!! 2. Great cabin steward 3. Excellent ... Read More
My husband and I got off the Divina this morning, and for once I was happy a cruise ended. The good points: 1. Great shows!!! There was a good variety of themes and the performers were terrific!!! 2. Great cabin steward 3. Excellent pizza!!! 4. Hardly any ship wide announcements The not-so-good points: 1. Poor disembarkation: not only were we still pulling into port at 7:30, there were no announcements to let us know what was going on. We were self-assist, and part of the first group that got off -- at 8:30!!! 2. I fully expect there to be a Norovirus outbreak soon. Not only were only a few hand sanitizers working or filled, but they were optional, and most people opted out. I didn't eat anything I had to pick up with my hands, only a knife and fork. 3. Some of the décor was good, but most was so gaudy, I couldn't believe it!!! The atrium stairs are filled with lights and Swarovski crystals -- don't look at them if you value your eyesight!!! 4. The most uncomfortable pillows I've had on a ship -- I'm not sure if they were filled with rice or wheat, but they crackled when I put my head down. 5. Except for the pizza, the food was hit or miss, and even when the flavor was good, it was seldom the correct temperature. This applied to both the buffet and the dining room. I didn't get a cup of soup that was hot until the last night. Some cabins got a survey form the second day of the cruise and I complained about the food temperature. I got a call the fifth day asking if I had noticed a difference, and I said no. 6. The theater shows were amazing, but the seats were very narrow; at least they didn't recline like some cruise line's. Each balcony row had a rail that was at eye level when seated. 7. There weren't a lot of activities, perhaps because of the many different nationalities on board the language difference was a factor. The safety briefing was given in English, German, French, Italian, Spanish, and Portuguese!!! Read Less
Sail Date March 2014
This was a full week chartered cruise for our group. We numbered close to 3,000 and this was our first time on MSC. My partner and I have been on over twenty cruises, on many different cruise lines, and MSC is the worse we have ever ... Read More
This was a full week chartered cruise for our group. We numbered close to 3,000 and this was our first time on MSC. My partner and I have been on over twenty cruises, on many different cruise lines, and MSC is the worse we have ever experienced. The ship itself is beautiful and very clean. But glitz, glamour and Swarovski crystals do not compensate for incredibly poor service from the staff. It was quite evident that they are understaffed, overworked and have very low moral. Our chartered cruise had books of drink coupons that you could purchase which eliminated ringing up your card each time and probably saved MSC a lot of paperwork and time. BUT trying to get served a drink was a nightmare. There are virtually few bar servers walking around to wait on you. In the casino they never came around and you had to leave the gaming table and go to the bar to order a drink. When you do stand at a bar to order, they could care less if you are waited on or not. At one particular bar on the ship there were four employees behind the bar and four customers in front. NONE of us were greeted or waited on until after maybe five minutes we complained in a loud voice about the poor service. That got a reaction. Did they think we were sitting on the stools to rest? Food was AVERAGE at best. The main restaurant menu was nearly identical each night and the desserts were as well. One staff member confided in us that there were lots of complaints about the food in the past and MSC improved it. Now I wonder just how bad was it before? The buffet was the same every morning and afternoon. Everything is sitting under heat lamps. Hot dogs, hamburgers and French fries premade and stale. Our charter prefers open seating for dinners and they were so overwhelmed by that concept that nearly everything ground to a halt. They had to close several restaurants and only begin seating everyone in the Black Crab first (so they could assign enough staff), then when full they directed people to La Rossa and so on. Most nights we never knew where to go for dinner! You would hike up and down stairs to reach a restaurant only to be sent off to another one. We chatted with people who went to the specialty restaurants and were completely underwhelmed and said not to waste our money. The Yacht Club restaurant was shut down (at least one night that we know of) and those guests were sent to La Rossa because they needed the staff to deal with open seating. They were rightfully ticked off. They paid a premium for that section of the ship and didn't receive the service. Now here's our thought on this. If the ship is designed for 3,500 passengers then they should be staffed to handle that many people. What if there was a maritime disaster and we had to evacuate? Would they be staffed enough to save everyone and get us safely off the ship??? We only had one cabin attendant and there use to be two. Several other passengers said they only had one steward also. A staff member that confided in us also said they have cut staff tremendously and next was their wages. They didn't say it, but I could tell that moral was very low among the workers and it showed. Rarely did anyone smile. They acted very indifferent and only went through the motions to do their job. Most staff was Indonesian, on most cruise lines they are exceptional, BUT on MSC they were more interested in chatting among themselves while ignoring the passengers and their English skills were very poor. If you asked them something, even a simple question, they would look at you dumbstruck. We will compliment them on the MSC productions. They were very good. Embarkation process was fast and efficient. The casino also has a good layout and a good selection of games (except for bar service). I compliment them on cleanliness also. Our cabin was very clean but the bathrooms are incredibly tiny compared to other cruise lines. Our chartered group was set to book the entire ship for next February but that was put on hold. We were all sent a survey after the cruise and asked specific questions about using MSC in the future. That's sad when you fail to impress nearly 3,000 people. You only have ONE chance to make a good first impression! Personally, we don't care to step foot on MSC again. We never felt "welcomed" or appreciated and that translates to a week long poor experience. Read Less
Sail Date February 2014
My spouse and I had been on 5 previous cruises. We had been on enjoyed cruises with both Carnival and Royal Caribbean. We found that Carnival was fine if we were traveling with other family members that had children but Royal Caribbean had ... Read More
My spouse and I had been on 5 previous cruises. We had been on enjoyed cruises with both Carnival and Royal Caribbean. We found that Carnival was fine if we were traveling with other family members that had children but Royal Caribbean had much better activities since they had bigger ships with rock walls, ice skating rinks, huge promenades, and both a higher quantity and higher quality of entertainers. For us, the food was comparable on Carnival and RC and the cabins were also about the same size. Our favorite ship had been Royal Caribbean's "Allure of the Seas." The only reason that we chose the MSC Divina this time was because it had been chartered by RSVP Vacations for a gay cruise and we had never been on a gay cruise and wanted to try one. RSVP was incredible but MSC lacked in several ways. On our first Carnival cruise, we were really impressed with the bedding in our cabin. The pillows and comforters just felt luxurious. The bedding was so good that it was available to buy on the ship! On each of the ships we were on after that, we never had issues with the bedding. All the ships were comfortable. We were very surprised to find MSC pillows felt like pillow cases filled with rags. It wasn't just one pillow in the room that was defective. ALL the pillows were lumpy and uncomfortable. Divina also had the smallest cabin of any cruise we had ever been on. We have always got a balcony cabin and both Carnival and RC balcony cabins have two single beds that can be put together and then a couch that can be folded out into another bed if there are three in the cabin. We were impressed on our first cruise with Carnival that, besides providing shampoo and body wash, they also provided small samples of toothpaste and other toiletries which was a nice touch. Our cabin on MSC had no sitting area. The only place to sit inside the cabin was on the beds themselves. The steward for our room was as nice as any we have had although this was the first time we were on a cruise with no towel animals or chocolate on our pillows or some small extra touch. The room was kept clean and fresh towels provided but nothing that felt "extra." The food on MSC Divina definitely seemed more mediocre than either Carnival or RC. To be honest, I am not a big fan of buffets where hundreds of people are serving themselves anyway. I took Microbiology in college and I always feel a little hesitant about cruise buffets where passengers are handling the utensils after sneezing or coughing into their hands and then they lay the utensils across the food itself. This has been common on every cruise we have taken. Apparently it doesn't bother everybody. Over time, it does seem like there has been more of an emphasis on using hand sanitizer as one enters the buffet but not everyone uses it and even though YOUR hands may be clean initially, after you have handled the utensils that a hundred other people have handled before you, your hands end up contaminated with every cold and flu virus or norwalk virus that someone before you was carrying. Unless you wash your hands again AFTER handling the contaminated utensils, you are still putting yourself at risk. I think this is why cruise ships are notorious for spreading such things like Noro virus. At the minimum, there should be plates on which the utensils are laid and signs directing passengers not to lay the utensils on top of the food after handling. Handing out disposable gloves at beginning of buffet line might help. Ultimately, it is best that only one or two people handle the serving utensils and passengers be served by staff. Add children into the mix and buffets are a little gross as far as I'm concerned, but I am digressing. One of my favorite things on the Allure was all the alternatives to eating at the buffet. There were plenty of alternative restaurants where one could be served. The MSC did have some alternative restaurants but all for paying extra except for the Black Crab and Villa Rosa. If neither of those two were open, you were pretty much stuck with either paying extra or eating at the buffet. Thankfully, there were no children on the cruise and I could only hope that these adults were more careful about washing their hands and basic hygiene. I was still careful to always try to reach back to the back of steam table where utensils had not laid across the food. The real problem was the repetitive dishes they offered. At EVERY buffet other than breakfast, there were warmed over hamburgers and cheeseburgers under heating lamps and pizza under heating lamps. We were so sick of hamburgers and pizza by the third day!! Breakfast at the buffet was okay, although every other ship we had been on offered an omelet station where you could get a fresh, made to order omelet that no one else had touched. I missed that! The Black Crab and Villa Rosa were pretty repetitive too. We saw the same menu almost every night. I think that one night they did have an alternative menu but most nights, the same dishes were offered. One of the things I liked on RC was the ability to just pay a few extra dollars for a fillet mignon steak in the main dining room. The Divina offered no extra's in their dining rooms and seating was problematic. We prefer sitting at a table for two and that always seemed a bit of a problem with Carnival although RC always accommodated us with no questions asked and no problem. On the Divina, on this cruise, the first problem you had with the dining rooms is that you had to be sure you showed up at the right door at the right time. First, they would open the downstairs area of the Black Crab. If you showed up at the upstairs door or the Villa Rosa, you were redirected to the downstairs door of the Black Crab to accommodate the needs of the maitre de apparently rather than accommodate the needs of the passengers to be seated. If there were just six seats left on the first floor of the Black Crab, there was no way that the upstairs or Villa Rosa was going to be opened, even if a long line had formed. It was cause for a lot of grumbling among the passengers waiting to eat in one of the dining rooms. One of the worst things for us for eating choices was the lack of choices after the incredible parties at night that RSVP Vacations provided. When we were exhausted from dancing and partying with RSVP Vacations, we would head to the buffet for a snack before going back to out cabin. Every night, warmed over hamburgers and pizza and maybe some pasta. You could not get the fresh pizza right out of the oven, until the warmed over pizza had all been consumed. On Carnival and RC, there were sometimes midnight buffets or chocolate or dessert buffets. I think they all depend on pizza way to much for late night snacking and that gets boring real quick but MSC offered no alternatives in the entire seven days while Carnival and RC did have a few other options in this regard. Speaking of repetitive, I was surprised by the lackluster entertainment the MSC offered. We saw their show in the Pegasus theater two nights in a row and the acts were essentially the same but different costumes and theme. Thankfully, we were traveling with RSVP Vacations and the entertainment they brought on the ship was amazing! I can't say enough about the RSVP Vacations for troubleshooting a lot of the problems we had with MSC. With exception of a bartender here and there on our cruises, staff have always been friendly and attentive. The staff on MSC, other than the stewards, seemed a bit aloof. For the first four days or so, it seemed like they didn't want to make eye contact. Below deck, the staff was typical of other cruises and friendly from various places in the world. Above deck, they were mostly Italian and maybe that had something to do with their attitude toward us? I overheard someone saying that this was the first American cruise for the Divina staff and they were not used to Americans and then there was the fact that the passengers consisted of about 3,000 gay men partying all week. Regardless, after about the fourth day, it did seem like the staff warmed up a little but still not as friendly as some of our previous cruises. We didn't use the spa services on MSC at all but I do want to mention that they did have a gym which was about the same as other ships we had been on. On the Carnival ships we have traveled on, anyone could use the steam rooms or sauna. We were surprised to find that the RC Allure did not allow passengers to use those facilities unless they booked expensive spa treatments. This was also the case on the MSC Divina. Overall, I would never choose to travel on an MSC cruise if I could avoid it. I would definitely travel with RSVP Vacations on another chartered ship of this size or larger, though. Since I like big ships with the most amenities, RC probably wins out for me overall and I would love to see RSVP charter one of their ships. I loved the fact that there were no children on this cruise because often on Carnival, you can't find a serene place on the ship that doesn't have screaming kids running by. I think it is great if you are parents traveling with kids but we are probably done with Carnival for that reason. The pools and hot tubs are often filled with kids on Carnival. The Allure of the Seas did have several jacuzzi and pool areas that seemed set aside for adults. That is another reason, RC gets extra points over Carnival. I am not sure how MSC Divina would be regarding this as there were no children on this cruise. There was a "European" nude sunbathing area, though. I'm not sure if that was a feature that MSC always offers or was something RSVP Vacations created just for this cruise. My ratings for this cruise do NOT include the RSVP parties or entertainment. Read Less
Sail Date February 2014
The elegant MSC Divina is the newest and largest (4,000+ passengers) of the 12-ship fleet of the Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC.) The MSC Company founded in 1970 is the second largest global cargo shipping company. The MSC cruise ... Read More
The elegant MSC Divina is the newest and largest (4,000+ passengers) of the 12-ship fleet of the Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC.) The MSC Company founded in 1970 is the second largest global cargo shipping company. The MSC cruise line, however, is still not familiar to most Americans. Originally called Fantasia, the ship was renamed Divina to honor Sophia Loren, the Godmother of the fleet. When the cruise line first began cruises in America, I attended a luncheon aboard the MSC Lirica that included a tour of the ship. The cleanliness and elegance of that ship so impressed me that I decided then to definitely cruise on an MSC ship in the future. We planned our cruise on the MSC Divina a year ago when we booked it while onboard our 2013 MSC Poesia cruise. The 7-night roundtrip cruise from Miami, Florida, February 1-8, 2014 visited St. Maarten, San Juan, Puerto Rico and Great Stirrup Cay, Bahamas. Our party of six traveled with a larger group of almost 800 Irishmen for tenor Andy Cooney’s Cruise of Irish Stars 2014. There was a real feeling of camaraderie among all of us. Many have cruised annually with this group - some for 8-10 years. It was fun meeting Jaime, sisters Eileen and Claire all from Ormond Beach and Francesca from the Villages in FL. The drive from home on the day of sailing took around 3 ½ hours. After dropping off our vehicle at a convenient off-site parking garage, we took the complementary shuttle van to the terminal. We arrived at 12:30 and boarded the ship within mere minutes. We quickly headed up to the sumptuous buffet on Deck 14 for a light lunch. After 42 cruises, this was one of the smoothest embarkations ever. Our disembarkation went just as smoothly and swiftly. We utilized the Self-Assist Program of carrying off our own luggage. The Compulsory Emergency Drill was a little chaotic at our Muster Station; so many passengers crowded in the area, all carrying life jackets and trying to put them on at the same time. The straps were a little confusing for many passengers but we all helped one another. The crew did their best to conduct the drill, checking attendance by scanning room key cards. The predominant language on board is English, by the way. There are few announcements so be sure to read your Daily Program for specific information about events and procedures. Although I have read many complaints about MSC, mostly when they first entered the American market, I found little to fault the company on this cruise. What impressed me the most was the sheer beauty of the MSC Divina. The deco throughout the ship is inviting and elegant. Little touches that you do not first notice catch your attention later. The public rooms are tastefully decorated in a modern Italian style. As I boarded the ship on Deck 5, I was drawn to the dazzling two deck Swarovski crystal staircases. They were a favorite spot for passengers to take photos. I especially loved the décor in the stunning Pantheon Theater with its gorgeous silver curtain. There are no obstructive views. The stadium-style seating affords every seat an excellent view of the stage. Since there were so many other live entertainment performances going on at the same time as the production shows, including our own Irish live entertainment, we were always able to get good seats even when we arrived just before Showtime. No food or drinks are served in the theater. In general, drinks are not pushed. All seventeen lounges and bar areas are beautiful and we would often stop to listen to live music either before or after the Production Shows. My favorite lounge was the Silver Lounge, Deck 6 because of its convenient location and beauty. Many passengers including us enjoyed the beautiful and timeless classical music played by The Elegant Trio & Igor nightly from 5 PM until late in the reception area on Decks 5 and 6. I truly felt that I was back in Europe listening to their music. Since the clientele on board is international, so is the live music around the ship. Many passengers enjoyed dancing to live music. The varied dance lessons (Grease Lightning, Country, Cumbia, Bachata, Triburon and Latin - Mambo, Merengue, Samba) offered in the lounges and Aqua Park were very popular and the steps easy to learn. The Irish passengers especially participated in the Riverdance class. Our quiet balcony cabin # 9125 also had the same attention to detail, as did the public areas. It had a very sophisticated décor. The lovely cabin was well- appointed with: a king-size bed, end tables with drawers, sofa with a small cocktail table, tall framed mirror, desk (with mirror) and ample closet space for our belonging. Gray wall-to-wall carpeting, a safe, framed art and a small fridge completed the furnishings. Our balcony furnished with a table and two chairs afforded beautiful views of the water. I really looked forward to returning to our serene and comfortable cabin each evening. The compact bathroom had a small shower stall with clear, unique folding doors that made the room seem larger when opened. I appreciated the retractable clothesline inside the stall and the two robes. Dispensers (for environmental reasons) held liquid soap at the sink and shampoo and shower gel in the shower. The shower cap and sewing kit were nice amenities, although I did miss the usual small bottles of hand lotion and hair conditioner. There was a regular clean supply of white fluffy bath and hand towels including face cloths. Yani did a wonderful job of unobtrusively cleaning and refreshing our stateroom when we vacated it. I never did get to meet her - although my husband did. Yani also fulfilled our additional requests faithfully. The ship has a small secret amber light hidden above stateroom doors that alerts the steward whether you are inside or outside the cabin. To turn on lights, you must place your stateroom card in a slot. I always knew where my card was so I liked this feature. It also is cost saving for MSC, which is very environmentally oriented. This system allows your steward to enter your cabin without disturbing you. What a neat idea! The stateroom corridors were light & cheery with spaced wallpaper panels of Italian scenes. At one point our passageway widened and we could look right down through broad curved glass walls onto the huge chandelier and the reception area below. It is most unusual for ship stateroom corridors to have an open feeling. Just off to the side was a lovely sculpture where we often arranged to meet before getting on the elevators. The same unobtrusive service found in our stateroom we also experienced in the lovely Villa Rosa Main Dining Room. I had requested a table by a window for our party and we received it. Our servers, Putera from Indonesia and Rudy from Bali did a professional job of attending to our requests, often anticipating them. Our wine bottle was always on our table when we arrived. The servers replenished our beverages and breadbasket without prompting. The congenial Assistant Maitre‘d Tommy stopped by our table nightly to check on our dining experience. Fiorentina from Romania was very prompt and carefully assisted passengers receiving Special Request Meals in our section. She also helped the wait staff when she saw a need. I enjoyed all the Italian dishes and loved the “flaming” Baked Alaska that the wait staff presented with a flourish. We enjoyed the food and service so much in the main dining room (MDR) that we often ate breakfast or lunch there or in the Black Crab Restaurant (another MDR.) I especially enjoyed the delicious French toast. The buffet on Deck 14 had a great selection of fresh produce, casseroles, Italian dishes, cheese, breads, meats & cold cuts. We all enjoyed the pizzas. Deserts were plentiful at lunchtime & I enjoyed their chocolate mousse more than once. We, therefore, never felt the desire to visit a specialty restaurant. Many passengers frequented the soft serve ice cream machines as did I, which were conveniently located on two sides of the Aqua Park available 2:00-5:00 pm. Besides the elegance and European style service on the ship, what impressed me greatly was the quality of the nightly shows. One of the reasons I enjoy cruising is to see the extravagant theater shows and MSC did not disappoint. Every night there was a different production show. My favorites are Witches of Paris (French Variety,) Simply Italian (Best Loved Italian Songs,) Frank (Sinatra) Forever and The Tribute (Arias.) If you like Michael Jackson’s music, you will enjoy Star Walker. Children seemed mesmerized by Pirates and Wonderland (Alice in Wonderland.) The costumes were all magnificent and the quality of the singing and dancing was wonderful. Attending a different variety show each night was a delight for me. Often performers came down the aisles into the audience. I did not really miss hearing a live orchestra because there was so much live music elsewhere on the ship. Since the passengers are international, it probably is a good move to make the shows mainly singing and dancing sprinkled with acrobats and other stunt performers. There were no comedian performances for this reason, I think. Sometimes in the theater prior to the production shows, the energetic animation (entertainment) staff performed impromptu comedy antics that surprised unsuspecting passengers to their amusement and the rest of audience. The fun helped the wait time seem shorter. Aside from port and shopping lectures, educational presentations were almost nil. Again, I feel the multitude of languages spoken by passengers may be a factor. There were plenty of parties and other activities. I attended the culinary demonstration conveniently presented poolside but wished that they had the recipes printed. The Flower Glory Party in the Black and White Lounge featured popular music of the 60s-80s. The MSC Factor Talent Contest was entertaining. Be sure to pack white clothing to wear to the White Party held under the Caribbean Stars on Deck 14. The Celebrate Chinese Wealth Day in the Galaxy Disco and MSC’s Little Italy parties were other fun events. The single women on the cruise enjoyed dancing with the MSC Divina officers. I enjoyed the fashion show in the reception area. All the clothing was for sale in the shops onboard. I do not remember seeing a fashion show on my other cruises. The open-air Aqua Park screen showed Pavarotti: The Event Live, Pacific Rim and Captain Phillips. If you are into fitness, there is a schedule of events going on throughout the day - morning walks, stretching, Aqua Cycling, Aerobics, Zumba, etc. Jewelry Making, Art & crafts, Scrabble, sport tournaments, napkin folding, Veteran’s Meet, bridge games, Italian lessons, bingo and trivia rounded out other offerings. On Super Bowl Sunday, football fans watched The Seahawks VS. The Broncos in the packed Sports Bar. Some extra cost events were fun, too. The men in our group enjoyed the Formula 1 4D Simulator. Find out if you have what it takes to be a racecar driver. One unique event was the Winemaker Experience where you join winemaker Greg and custom blend you own bottle of wine. Another unusual event was the opportunity to try five different “solid” cocktails in one glass. The young energetic animation team did a great job with organizing and participating in poolside games and other activities. I answered a math trivia question and won a colorful MSC mouse pad. My husband & brother-in-law each won one also in a ring toss game. The lively music poolside played by our Irish group of entertainers was fantastic and quite popular with even those not traveling with our group. Dancers crowded the limited space in front of the stage area to do Ceili dancing. For me, the water in the five pools was a little too cool so I did not stay in the water a long time. I did enjoy the whirlpools because the temperature was not too hot for me. Kids loved the waterslide. Shallow areas in the Aqua Park were great for toddlers and young children. There are 150 fountains in the Aqua Park. In St Maarten, we shopped in the village of stores right at the pier. In San Juan, we rode the complementary trolley near the terminal out to Castillo San Felipe del Morro, “El Morro.” Later we walked back to the ship stopping along the way in several shops in Old San Juan. In Great Stirrup Cay, our MSC shore excursion was an eco-boat tour. We learned interesting facts about the history of the Bahamas, its local ecology and marine life. We were all encouraged to touch, hold and photograph many marine species. What surprised me was the necessity of signing a waiver for the eco tour. Later, we visited the vendor tents at the beach, relaxed on beach lounges and swam in the clear Caribbean water. The only issue that I had with our day at the beach was the exceptionally long buffet lines that we encountered unprotected from the hot sun. The wait took away a good portion of our beach time. Perhaps a box lunch handed out as we departed the ship might be an option to the long lines for the buffet. One unusual thing that I noticed while on board was that there was a # 13 deck and # 13 lifeboat. However, there was no # 17 lifeboat. Cruise Director Andre explained that in Italy # 17 is considered unlucky; #13 is not. I especially recommend MSC to young families since children under 11 sail free when staying with the parents in their cabin. There were many families on this cruise because of this policy. In fact, there was a wide range of ages onboard from many foreign countries. I spoke with passengers from Australia, Canada, France, Germany and Japan. What an opportunity to get to know people from different cultures! I have a few thoughts for MSC. Perhaps the ship could stock non-fat milk. We were always served 2 % at best which they assured us was skimmed milk. Other times they served whole milk and called it skimmed. I prefer choosing my own time to dine and this option is not currently available on MSC. Since we were with a large group with specific entertainment schedules, we all had to choose Early Dining anyway, so this was not an issue on this particular MSC cruise for me. Be aware that the dining room doors close fifteen minutes after the start of the dining seating. Another issue was the early 7 AM time for vacating our stateroom on disembarkation day. This surprised me since our staterooms were not ready until 2 PM on Embarkation Day, which is late for most cruise lines. You may find some onboard difference if you sail MSC in Europe. Many passengers found navigating the ship to be a little confusing because the two MDRs used the same main kitchen. This means passengers sometimes had to go up or down a deck to get from one end of the ship to the other. Many new ships, in fact, have this similar arrangement. What it all comes down to is will I book another cruise on MSC? The answer is a definite yes. The food and service were good, the shows were wonderful and the ship was simply beautiful. Best of all, the pricing is very competitive with the major cruise lines and an excellent value. Special online sales offer even greater savings. I am already a member of the complementary MSC Club for returning guests. There are several benefits to becoming a member including a complementary cocktail party and various discounts. Be sure to join after your initial cruise. Arrivederci, MSC!   Read Less
Sail Date February 2014
We, along with some of our friends, decided to try MSC. We are all seniors and have all sailed on several different cruise lines. We met some cruisers who really liked MSC and we got a really good deal on THe Divina and decided to give it ... Read More
We, along with some of our friends, decided to try MSC. We are all seniors and have all sailed on several different cruise lines. We met some cruisers who really liked MSC and we got a really good deal on THe Divina and decided to give it a try. We sailed in January to the Eastern Caribbean, We had stops at San Juan, St Marteen and NCLs private island. Embarkation: We drove to Miami and parked at Safe Cruise Parking. It was a fenced lot and their shuttle was prompt and they helped with all our luggage. I do not know who does MSC's Embarkation, but they should do all cruise line embarkation. No wait to get through security and no wait at the desks.Walked right on the ship. Were told that our rooms would be ready at 1:30pm, but our rear balcony room was ready when we got on at 1:00 pm. Room: Our rear facing balcony room was wonderful. Very large. Bed and a full size couch. Great bathroom. No shower curtain, but glass enclosure. No extra lotion. All soap etc in dispensers. Balcony was huge, probably 14 feet, but only two chairs. Got our room steward to add two. Found out later that if you called the front desk you could get a lounge added. TV no great shakes. Only complaint was the design of the closets. They were on the wall across from door to bathroom. Could be hard to use. The desk area had plenty of plugs, but would suggest an extension cord. Ship: The Divina is a beautiful ship. A little hard to get around, but very clean and a treat for the eyes. The biggest compliant we had was the deck space around the pools. MSC does not enforce the no saving chairs policy and on a sunny day it was impossible to find a chair. 4,000 people is too many for this ship. Food: Uneven is the best I can say. Some things were very good, others not so good. The buffet is huge and has the best salad bar I have ever seen. Other things just average. Make sure you go to the rear of the buffet, same food not as crowded. Pizza is OK, no fresh grilled hamburgers or hot dogs.The biggest surprise for me was that the pasta was just average. Often under or over cooked. You just need tp remember what you are paying for the cruise. One of the best things I had was am egg salad sandwich from room service. Service: Our room steward was great, but some of the other people did not have great service. Sometimes it is hard to communicate with them. But they want to please, Also, be aware that you have to have a room key in the slot to have electricity. That also turns on a light outside your cabin that tells the room steward you are in the room. They will not come in if the light is on. Dining room service was not good the first night. But we spoke to the head of the dining room and it improved markedly after that. Just make sure yo speak up! Front desk service was generally good. The personnel speak multiple languages, so if you are not being understood ask to speak to someone else. Entertainment: Among the best I have seen. The performers are very talented. More of a circus type show than you see on other ships. Multiple acts and singers and dancers, but all very good. They have a show every night and the showroom is wonderful. The singers and bands in the lounges are also very good. Passengers: Much more international than any other cruise line I have been on. We had 900 Armenians and over 1000 Germans on board. They do make announcements in 5 languages. Dress and manners are a bit different, but was not objectionable to us. Overall: Considering what we paid, it was good value for the money. Would I go again? Yes if the price and itinerary was right. Wish they sailed from Fort Lauderdale, but like I said they offer good value for the money. They really want to improve and are working hard to get better. I would discount some of the reviews that say this is the worst cruise experience ever. Nice ship, nice room, fantastic entertainment. That is a pretty good start.   Read Less
Sail Date January 2014
I have a mixed review to be honest. I loved the ship and I had a great time but my frustrations grew more and more every day. I love going on cruises and this was my third one. The other two were on carnival. I figured this MSC cruise ... Read More
I have a mixed review to be honest. I loved the ship and I had a great time but my frustrations grew more and more every day. I love going on cruises and this was my third one. The other two were on carnival. I figured this MSC cruise would be much better but to be honest, it was not. I will most likely take an MSC Cruise again as this was only the second cruise in the Caribbean so they have some work to do and I took that into account. The staff honestly, does work very hard and they work daily and they do not get paid a lot. However the management seriously needs some work. They need to train the staff much better. Especially in the dining rooms and in the Buffet areas. The bartenders needs some serious training. It took forever to get drinks and honestly, the drinks were expensive and very week. We waited about a half hour for drinks. American's love to drink. So to start with the Buffet - there was no juices to drink besides water. So I decided that I would use a soda coupon and go get a soda however the bar in the buffet area was closed. So all you had was water. So I decided to go to the other bar outside the pool deck area. Well good luck with that, the line was enormous and you had to wait for thirty minutes for that to happen. The staff did not seem to be knowledgeable about much as well. My friend who came with me, thought he would actually gain a lot of weight from all the food but actually he said he lost weight as the food was not that good. I felt as though the food was good at times but not all the time. Late night, the food was limited. The entertainment staff was actually great. They have the most amazing shows and they really show appreciation to all the guest. I have never seen shows like this ever. I met one of the Entertainment staff individuals who I became friends with. I told him my experience on the ship and also told him that this is a new area for the ship so I know there are things that need some work and I would come back on the ship again in hopes to see progress and I am sure I will. I do see however that the management on the ship really does need to do some work. I was not impressed with the management. There was a huge difference between a Carnival Ship and the MSC Divina though. Our cabin staff member was very nice and did a really good job. He would always ask us when we wanted our room cleaned. He was there during the mornings and the evenings. Since we stay up very late, we chose the evenings. He did a great job. I will most likely go on a Carnival Cruise ship however before I go on this ship again. But who knows. I just do not want to take a chance on bad service again but will have to see. My friend who went with me, says he will never go on this ship again. Read Less
Sail Date November 2013
MSC Divina Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 4.3
Dining 4.5 3.3
Entertainment 4.0 3.9
Public Rooms 4.0 4.1
Fitness Recreation 4.0 3.7
Family 4.0 3.7
Shore Excursion 4.0 3.4
Enrichment 1.0 3.2
Service 4.0 3.6
Value For Money 4.0 3.8
Rates 5.0 3.7

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