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

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
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
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
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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