We booked this cruise because friends of ours were taking this cruise and suggested it might be fun if we joined them - so our group of 4 consisted of 2 couples age 65+ and no children. Our port of embarkation was Valencia, Spain and that ... Read More
We booked this cruise because friends of ours were taking this cruise and suggested it might be fun if we joined them - so our group of 4 consisted of 2 couples age 65+ and no children. Our port of embarkation was Valencia, Spain and that was the beginning of a wonderful week aboard MSC Divina. Embarkation went smoothly, but disembarkation at the end of our week was a bit confusing. Due to an early flight out of Valencia, it was necessary for us to leave the ship earlier than our assigned disembarkation group, and we had some trouble finding the correct location to exit the ship. This ship is the largest we have ever cruised on, and it is beautiful. Considering that there are several thousand passengers aboard at all times, we also found it to be amazingly clean. We chose a balcony cabin on deck 11 at the aft of the ship, which turned out to be the ideal location to enjoy the views at several ports on our itinerary. Our cabin was tastefully decorated, not too small, storage was adequate, bed and pillows were comfortable (an option was available to switch to more comfortable pillows, but the ones in the room suited us just fine), the bathroom was well-designed and efficient, and - best of all - our cabin attendant GERRY took great care of our room, and always greeted us with a smile.
When we found out we would not be dining until the second seating at 9:45 we were a bit concerned that would just be too late. The time turned out to be just fine. We were able to enjoy all of the early shows in the theater (and they were all GREAT!) and have leisurely dinners in the dining room. Our waiters, KIKIT and JAMES, were fabulous - always smiling, polite, friendly, and professional. They were just the BEST! Our meals in the dining room were always good - often great - and items were always served at-or near-the appropriate temperature (We NEVER had a warm dish served cold!). We did not eat at any specialty restaurants. During breakfast, lunch, and late afternoon "snack" time, the buffet areas were usually busy, but we were always able to find something good to eat, and there were usually places to sit near the back of the ship. In the dining room, we had breakfast twice and lunch once, and each time we were able to meet passengers from other countries. Knowing minimal Spanish, German, French, etc. attempting to communicate was sometimes challenging, but the people we shared tables with did their best to speak to us in English - and in one case our conversation with a family from Madrid went fairly smoothly thanks to Google Translate. It was fun and educational for us!
Prior to leaving home, we booked only one excursion - a day in Rome. After we boarded the ship, we were informed that excursion had been canceled due to lack of participation. We then booked a different Rome excursion through the ship excursion desk. The bookkeeping was handled properly. Prior to disembarkation, our on-board account (viewable on the TV in our room) showed the correct charges and credits for our excursion - and we enjoyed our day in Rome very much. Waldo, our tour guide in Rome, was great! The other days, we chose to explore the ports on our own schedule. Our friends booked several excursions through the ship, and each evening we got to hear about their day trips. They seemed to enjoy all of their excursions. As a group or individually, we did not really use the casino, pools, fitness, or spa services. We usually met at a bar each evening to discuss the activities of the day. Unfortunately, we found that after about 7:00 p.m. each evening, nearly every public place on the ship became extremely LOUD. We enjoyed listening to the music in several bars on board - but it was always loud. The buffet areas were always loud. The dining rooms were loud. The only quiet place that we found in the evenings was sitting in the theater waiting for the shows to begin. It would have been nice to find a public space with some QUIET background music. Maybe there was a more quiet area - we just never found it. We did experience a bit of confusion a couple of times regarding when and where we could use our drink vouchers, but it wasn't a big problem.
Our itinerary included only Mediterranean ports. Because the passengers aboard the ship came from many different countries, most announcements were made in several different languages. As far as we could tell, the information was presented as quickly and efficiently as possible, and we didn't find it to be a problem at all. We were amazed at how many crew members greeted us in English - almost always with a smile. It's highly likely that they also had some knowledge of Spanish, Italian, French, German, etc. - very impressive.
This was our 5th cruise, our first with MSC, and our best one so far. Unfortunately, we did have one experience that was very disappointing. On our final night, the dining room schedule was changed from designated seating times to "open" seating. We arrived at the dining room about 8:00 p.m. and hoped that we would be able to have our usual wait staff - KIKIT and JAMES - for our final night. Although we requested our usual table - 860 - we were informed by the gentleman who seated us that the night was open seating, and he made no attempt to honor our request. As we passed our usual table, we noted that it was open, and there seemed to be no good reason for us to sit at a different table than we had become accustomed to. Luckily, we were seated near KIKIT and JAMES, and they were able to stop by and briefly say hello and goodbye to us. Perhaps someone in our group should have demanded - rather than requested - that we be able to sit at our usual table. Unfortunately, the situation left all 4 of us feeling a little sad on our last night on the ship.
All things considered - with the exception of our dining room experience on our last night - we were extremely happy with our cruise, and we would be happy to cruise again with MSC. Read Less