Length: 1,093 ft
This brand new MSC mega-ship will be based in Miami in 2013. Great for Bargain cruises.Best For People Who Want
A bargain cruise on a brand new cruise ship with many sports activities and varied cuisineShould Be Avoided By People Who Prefer
Always prompt and attentive service, especially in the dining venues.Onboard Experience
It is important to note that the experience on MSC Cruises varies a great deal between Europe, where the guest contingent is populated by Europeans, and in the Caribbean, where Americans make up the majority. See the MSC Cruises Overview for more details.
Interesting entertainment by European performers and genuine Italian food and wine set MSC ships apart from other ships in this price range. And while the announcements are always in five languages, when the ship is in the Caribbean they make English first. The majority of the crew is comfortable conversing in English as well as their mother tongue.
Passengers are greeted upon arrival and escorted to their cabins by white-gloved housekeeping staff. This service typifies the friendly but elegant atmosphere of the entire cruise. MSC's goal is to maintain a charmingly European atmosphere onboard the ship at all times regardless of whether they are sailing in Europe or the Caribbean. The focus during the Caribbean season is to incorporate American tastes into an onboard ambience that still remains charmingly European. Italian officers and a mix of Italian, Indian, Balinese and other international crew keep the European feel alive.
Divina is a large, mainstream cruise ship built to cater to the middle-class pan-European market. The focus is on swimming pools and sun tanning, with excellent cuisine and entertainment options at night. There are tons of children's activities onboard and a wide variety of dining options. There is plenty of shopping, dancing, sports and music activities day and night.
In Europe, these ships are mostly populated by Europeans speaking their native tongues, so Americans are well advised that this is not necessarily a typical cruise experience. English-speaking (only) guests in Europe will be relegated to the role of people watchers, more so than participants, solely because of the language barrier. If that concept doesn't bother you, you will find Divina a beautiful, state-of-the-art cruise ship. But if you are looking for guest interaction like meeting new people you should probably seek out a ship marketed to the American audience or wait until she comes to the Caribbean.
In the Caribbean (where she will be in 2013) Divina will offer bargain cruises. The only drawback is that the crew is used to the European mindset of slow service at meals and smoking anywhere they please.
While in America the rules for room service change. There is no charge for room service. The cuisine will shift a little more towards American taste, but probably not enough for some people.
Divina is a large cruise ship, almost on par with the Voyager-class for Royal Caribbean and bigger than anything in the Carnival, Costa, Princess or Celebrity fleets. However, considering her size she is not the most generous ship when it comes to public rooms. Her best asset is her abundant deck space which gets filled to capacity with excellent deck chairs that each have a built-in sun screen for the face. Internal public space is somewhat limited and can get crowded.
The pools are brimming with people, especially kids, on sunny days. The water slide will have a line snaking down two decks, and the water fountain effects in the L'Equitore indoor pool will keep children entertained for hours.
Indoors, Divina features a variety of public rooms, each with its own theme. There is no Royal Promenade or soaring atrium on the ship, surprising for a ship of this size, but rather each room transitions into the next and creates a constantly changing tableaux of options. Such a ship design, without a main thoroughfare, always creates bottlenecks, especially when the only way out of the dining room and is through the photographer's picture display area. Still, the ship has true class, there is nothing faux or Disney-like about her décor. There is beautiful artwork everywhere and rich warm colors in the fabrics and finishings.Public Rooms
The Divina offers ten different bars and lounges, each of them unique, and most situated on decks five, six and seven. There is a small atrium only three decks tall with the reception desk, shore excursions and other passenger services on the ground floor.
Deck five foreword features the beautiful Strand Theater, one of the most functionally perfect production showrooms I have ever seen at sea. The floor is perfectly designed without a single pole to block the view and raked over two decks so viewing from every row is perfect. The sound is acoustically balanced with special design treatments. Avoid the balcony seats on deck seven if possible, however. Glass railings block the view and the sound system, vastly diminishing the experience.
Shows that stress nonverbal entertainment such as jugglers, acrobats or musical productions featuring classic pop songs combined with Italian opera make it possible to entertain passengers from up to five different native languages. Although the sets and costumes could be better, the vocal performances are outstanding. Also on deck five is the bottom floor of L'Reggia restaurant, one of the two main dining rooms onboard.
Deck six contains one of the most beautiful public rooms on any ship, La Piazzeta. This small courtyard resembles a village square in Tuscany. There are ceramic tile benches surrounding a beautiful flowing fountain. A person can sit here and relax with a café mocha and gelato. You will also find the cigar lounge and the main bar in the atrium called L'Aperitivo nearby. The Royal Palms casino offers blackjack, poker, plenty of slot machines and of course roulette. You will not find craps tables which are an American pastime.
On deck seven, you will find the wine bar L'Enoteca for tasting vino by the glass along with food pairings from Italy, Spain and Germany. Also on deck seven you will find live music in the La Prua piano bar and the Purple Jazz Bar, featuring a fine jazz quartet. The Aft Lounge is another showroom in the stern with seating for hundreds of people and a large stage facility. The Sports Bar has the two-lane miniature bowling alley. Five frames of 10-pin bowling cost three Euro, but the ball is bocce-sized, the lane is about 2/3 the regulation length and the pins are smaller.
There is a variety of restaurants, including two excellent alternative dining venues, and a number of smaller bars hidden in nooks. One nice option is that espresso coffee drinks can be ordered from any bar on the ship.
There is plenty of shopping onboard, including fashion boutiques for men and women, jewelry stores, a liquor and tobacco store and a beautiful candy store with hundreds of different European brands of chocolate. There is a perfume store and a swim shop near the swimming pool. Of course, MSC logo items are available from shirts to shorts, sweatshirts and sandals. The ship has Internet access in every state room by a wired ethernet and there is also stem to stern WiFi access.Cuisine
In Europe these ships appeal to the European market so you get the best of cuisine from all over the continent; pasta from Italiy, French coque au vin, Spanish paella and German pork and potato salad. For breakfast you get beans with your bacon, as well as seveal cuts of sausage and cheese.
Freshly made pasta and risotto dishes are available for lunch and dinner as well as a specialty dish from a different region of Italy each night. Grilled chicken, steak, and fish are always available as an option for more traditional fare. The menu lists appetizers, soup, salads, pasta, main courses and garnishes, as well as vegetarian and healthy choice selections. The dessert menu includes cakes, pastries, ice cream and sorbet, along with after-dinner drinks. Second helpings are yours for the asking, and portion sizes are above average.
Breakfast begins with the Early Birds' Coffee and Danish at 6:00 am, the full breakfast buffet runs from 6:30 to 9:30 am. Fresh eggs made to order and omelettes are offered at a station located in the grill area, just outside of the buffet restaurant. Piping hot coffee is served in cups and saucers by wait staff at the drink stations. No oversized mugs are available, or large sized drink glasses either for that matter. Juice is offered in the morning, replaced by tea during the day. The dining rooms served breakfast open seating style, from 7:00 to 9:30 am, and open seating lunch from 12:00 to 2:00 pm. A continental breakfast is available through room service from 7:30 to 11:00 am. The buffet is closed in the evening, so the dining room, grill and pizza stations, or room service are your choices for an evening meal.
Entrees in the Le Bistrot Cafeteria during the lunch time of 12:00 to 2:30 pm ranged from the unusual octopus stew towards more American meal staples such as broiled fish and chicken. A carving station serving of either beef or poultry is available here everyday, along with the ever tempting huge selection of rolls, breads, and crispy breadsticks.
Hot dogs, hamburgers, chicken breasts and pizza are available in the poolside grill areas from 12:00 to 3:30 pm and then again from 5:30 to 9:00 p.m. The freshly made pizza is hot and delicious. The all-American favorite pepperoni is present, along with a few other not so ordinary varieties.
On "gala" nights in the buffet areas, passengers are treated to Crepes Flambé' and other delicious specialties artfully presented and served. On other nights, simpler snacks of sandwiches and sweets are served, usually by strolling waiters in the lounges and other public areas of the ship.
The Ice Cream and Vitamin bar, not complimentary, located on lido deck is open from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm.
Afternoon tea from 4:00 to 5:00 pm consists of finger sandwiches, cakes, and cookies, and is usually served in the buffet area and out on the adjacent deck area.
A variety of club sandwiches, chicken Caesar salads, cheese and fruit platters, along with ice cream and dessert of the day is offered on the 24 hour room service menu. The food is good, and delivered within 20 minutes. But in Europe there will be a surcharge, even in the suites for certain items.
A coffee and tea station is available at the casual dining area after hours, but the best coffee onboard is at The Coffee Bar.
Drink prices tend to be failrlu reasonable.Restaurants
MSC Cruises brags about its Italian cuisine by saying they feature a different region of Italy in their dining room menus every single night. While the menus do feature articles on a different region of Italy nightly, the notion that the cuisine is actually different on a nightly basis is not quite so obvious. Still, the Italian cuisine onboard is good to excellent as predicted, especially the cuts of red meat, pasta and risotto dishes. A different risotto dish is offered every night infused with anything from mango to portobello mushrooms.
One thing we noticed that came to us as a very pleasant surprise is that the food in all of the dining areas was always served hot, even the buffet area. This i sespecially nice for breakfast where one can scoop up freshly fried aggs over easy, or omelets still piping hot.
In Europe no beverages except coffee and juice with breakfast are served free of charge. You will be charged for iced tea which comes in a can for lunch and dinner and water for every meal is served from a bottle, large 2.50 Euro or smal for .60 Euro. When the ship moves to the Caribbean, however, ice tea is offered with every meal free of charge, as well as ice water.
Hot dogs, hamburgers, chicken breasts and pizza are available in the poolside grill areas from 12:00 to 3:30 pm and then again from 5:30 to 9:00 p.m. The freshly made pizza in the Bora Bora buffet is hot and delicious, but it is Napolitano style with a thick crust and just a touch of tomato sauce. There are generally at least five and as many as seven varieties of the pizza available at all times.
There are two gelato stations on the ship, one in the Piazzata and the other by the pool. A small cup is €1.5 and a large serving is €2.5. There are also delicious cakes, cheese cakes and special cookies available for a small price. You won't find mouthwatering desserts served in the buffet or after dinner in the dining room, except in the alternative restaurants, where there is a charge. In general, if you want to go to dessert heaven anywhere on the ship have an you will have to pay the price of admission.
A variety of club sandwiches, chicken Caesar salads, cheese and fruit platters, ice cream and dessert of the day are offered on the 24 hour room service menu. The food is good, and delivered within 20 minutes, however there is a fee charged for each of these items when the ship is in Europe. Room service becomes gratis once any MSC Cruises ship is in the Caribbean.
There are two dinner seatings in each of the two dining rooms, but the times vary depending on the ship's location. In the Caribbean, early seating begins at 6:00 and late seating is 8:15 p.m. In Europe, early seating begins at 7:30 p.m. and late seating begins at 10 o'clock. This is in keeping with the lifestyle of the Spanish, especially, and the Italians. Obviously, Americans will find this time to be far too late.
The two main seating restaurants are Villa Verde and La Reggia. Villa Verde is placed in the stern of the ship on decks five and six with commanding views through two-deck tall picture windows. Finding the restaurant entrance is a bit tricky, since it is at the bottom of a dead-end staircase, which means one must approach from deck six and walk down.
The alternative restaurants are where the cuisine really shines. L'Olivio is the Italian specialty restaurant where the entire menu is a la carte. Appetizers began at 3 to 7 Euro, including cioppino soup or tuna carpacchio. The lamb chops served on a bed of mango risotto are out of this world, and the Mediterranean lobster with a tail as long as the plate is wide is a joy to behold. The other alternative restaurant, Santa Fe Café, features food from the American southwest, including tacos, pork anchioto and fajitas. Once again, everything is à la carte. Expect to pay anywhere from five to €20 in these restaurants, depending on how many courses you order.
The Bora Bora buffet is surprisingly good. One reason for this is the vast selection of foods required to satisfy the palates of so many different European cultures. Breakfast is a perfect example, one will find flaky croissants, fresh omelettes, juicy German sausages and English bacon. I have never experienced a buffet area where they managed to keep the food so warm, which is a significant but often under-appreciated accomplishment on any cruise ship.Service
It is considered common knowledge that MSC Cruises experienced growing pains, especially in terms of onboard service, but if my recent cruise is any example we can say these rough spots have been completely eliminates. Especially impressive is the ability of the crewmembers to communicate with passengers in any given language. Operationally, the ship must provide service to every guest in his or her native language. Failing that, English is always the fallback language for every crewmember and passenger. This is quite an advantage for American passengers who will not have any difficulties communicating with most people on board. But do not expect to hear English spoken unless you happen to ask somebody a question.
Stateroom housekeeping services are always top-notch and problems are addressed in a timely manner. The Reception and Shore Excursion desks are adequately staffed, and there is rarely a line to ask a question or book a tour.Tipping
In the Caribbean, a daily gratuity of $12 per passenger is automatically added to the onboard account. If you're under 18 and sharing with two adults, it's only $6.00 per day. The amount can be adjusted at the Reception desk.
A gratuity for bar staff is already included in the price of drinks. Spa and casino staff may be tipped in cash at the discretion of the passenger. In the Caribbean, they have come to expect a tip from the North American clientele. In Europe, tradition dictates that tips be presented to service personnel on the last night of the cruise. The cruise line suggests $3.50 to $5.00 per person per day for the Waiter and Stateroom attendant and $1.00 - $2.00 per day for the Maitre D'. Children under 12 pay half those amounts. Again, the gratuity for bar service personnel is included in the price of the drink.Entertainment
Musicians perform in the various lounges every evening and all of the entertainers on board are from Europe. The idea of MSC Cruises is to always present a European culture onboard the ship no matter where it is sailing - even in the Caribbean. , cuisine and décor are the areas where the European identity which they consider to be their trademark remain consistent.
The main show lounge, the Strand Theater, offers two shows every evening for early and late dinner seatings. The times will vary depending on dining times. The production show cast on our cruise numbered 14, including two professional singer duos. This is an unusual configuration since on most cruise ships one of the duos of singers would have been substituted for an male/female adagio dance team. While the vocalists were excellent in both pop and operatic traditions, the costumes and choreography of the chorus were run-of-the-mill, at best, as well as the staging.
More pleasing were the special entertainers brought on board, such as the Italian hand puppet master who created shadow puppets using nothing but his hands and performed staged vignettes to well known popular recordings.
There are all kinds of sports activities on board. The Europeans apparently love to laze in the sun. Outdoor activities include deck tennis, basketball, water slides, hot tubs, an outdoor movie screen, daytime aerobics and entertainment by the pool. There were also virtual golf and raquetball. Demonstrations for Italian cooking and language lessons; trivia, mini-golf, ping-pong, shuffleboard tournaments; dance lessons and arts and crafts were offered on sea days.
MSC cruises offers a variety of theme cruises every year, ranging from doo-wop singing to sports (baseball or golf) and comedy. In general, these cruises feature entertainment, interactive get-togethers and shore excursions in keeping with the theme. American passengers should only book on theme cruises based in the Caribbean and specifically targeted to an English-speaking audience.Cabins
Divina has a total of 1637 cabins, 82% of them are outside cabins and 1256 with private balconies. There are 107 suites on board and 99 of them are in the Yacht Club category. The Yacht Club is a very special "ship within a ship" concept only offered on the Fantasia and Splendida cruise ships.
Yacht Club cabins come with access to a special concierge lounge, a private club located above the bridge and containing a bar and buffet area where food and drink are available on an unlimited, cost-free basis. The room has several waiters and private booths with tremendous views where guests can luxuriate in comfort and eat or drink to their heart's content. There is also a private sundeck with a pool and hot tubs just for Yacht Club, only accessible by private elevator.
A special concierge is on duty 24 hours a day in the Yacht Club. He is there to interface with your butler and to make sure all of your needs are met in a timely manner. Inside your state room, Yacht Club members receive unlimited room service with no service charges, access to a minibar containing beer, wine, spirits and snacks with no service charges, unlimited laundry service handled by your butler and room service delivery of Yacht Club menu items during meal times. In addition to free drinks in the Yacht Club , Yacht Club patrons are also is seated in a special area within the Villa Verde dining room where a special level of service is provided, including complimentary wine or any kind of beverage with dinner.
The Yacht Club suites are among the most beautiful at sea featuring separate living rooms from bedrooms with commanding views and a drop dead gorgeous color scheme.Fitness/Spa
The gym, carefully hidden behind the MSC Aurea spa area, has a limited number of treadmills and Nordic machines as well as state-of-the-art progressive resistance apparatus. For a ship meant to accommodate 4000 passengers the number of individual aerobic machines is limited. One gets the impression that Europeans are not nearly as concerned with daily exercise as Americans.
The spa itself features 15 massage rooms and three thelassotherapy cabins. The massage team specializes in Balinese treatment options. Cruise charges in Europe are in Euro and will appear to be rather expensive for Americans. In the Caribbean, these prices will be translated to dollars and set at a more reasonable level.Attire
Although this item is at the bottom of the page it is extremely important. Europeans cruisers are extremely casual in their dress. Even though the prescribed dress code on the ship for most nights on our seven night cruise was informal, which was defined as jacket and tie for a man, in fact, most people were wearing blue jeans and open toed shoes. There were T-shirts and untucked dress shirts with no necktie. Even on the most formal nights only 30% of men were even wearing suits and not a tuxedo was seen on the entire ship.
In fact, on almost any given night if one did not feel like changing out of their casual day clothes one could walk any place on the ship and not feel out of place. Of course, some of the ladies seemed to enjoy dressing up a little more than the men.
Bottom-line, if you enjoy extremely casual ships then you can't do any better than MSC cruises in Europe.Fellow Passengers
In Europe these ships appeal to the part of the European market that still does not speak English - so in Europe expect to hear a lot of Italian, French, Spanish, German and everything else.
In the Caribbean there will be more Europeans than on other cruise lines, but English will be the predominant language.
Divina Transatlantic cruise Venice to Miami November 2nd 2013
This was our third cruise with MSC in Twelve months and our second transatlantic, despite all the issues with MSC since booking way back in early January we had high expectations of the Divina which is basically a stretched Musica class ship.
We arrived at the port of Venice at around 11-45am handed over our cases and went upstairs to find one area to our right very crowded and one to our left where people were in queues waiting for the check in desks.
MSC club said that there was preferential check in at Venice for Silver, Gold and Black card members (this has now been removed from the current club member benefits) so we went over and asked one of the staff who told us it was for Gold and Black card members only, we took ourselves over to one of the information desks and asked the same question and were then lead to a separate area and were on the ship within twenty minutes. For some reason it had been decided that Credit card details would be obtained on the shiprather than at check in and it was left to passengers to go to customer service to register their card. Once again we were never required to fill in a health questionnaire.
We headed up to our room which was a Balcony on the back of the ship on Deck 10, the cabin was similar to the one we had on Poesia the year before but slightly larger with a Balcony of some Fourteen feet in length that contained two chairs and a table as well as two sun loungers, the bathroom has two opening doors to the shower rather than a curtain which was great. Wardrobe space again was similar to Poesia with a three-door robe one containing the safe and draw storage space; there is also a 2 drawer bedside cabinet on each side of the bed and two on the vanity unit. The Fridge is also housed in this unit with the TV and a shelf above.
The furniture is a dark walnut colour whereas the Poesia had been a much lighter material, we found the bedside lamps were a little to dull for reading with the main lights switched off. Red carpet and Bed headboard covering and two large mirrors, table and two seat settee completed the room.
Our cabin was looked after by Nengah, who did a great job and left a note for me on my Birthday this was unexpected, and a really nice gesture.
We headed up to the buffet for lunch having left our carry on cases in the cabin, after around twenty minutes there was a total loss of power for around five minutes, we have no idea as to why or if it was only the buffet that was affected.
A problem with Deck 12,11 and 10 balconies is that when they wash the large panoramic windows of the back of the buffet on deck 14 these balconies get the water from it so every morning the balcony was wet and stayed that way until the room was cleaned, a further problem is that if they overfill the aft Infinity pool and forget to drain it back before leaving port these three decks get soaked as the ship makes its turns which is due to the water escaping from the contained area.
One of the White shirted crew/officers came to check out the problem and confirmed the water was from the pool but it was never cleared away, a possible design flaw, others on these decks also had to ring customer service about the water issue.
The sliding doors to the balcony cannot be latched while out on the balcony which means that if the ship is rolling from side to side the door slides open and closed with quite a thud, dangerous if you happen to be going in or out and are caught unawares.
For a somewhat new ship this area suffers from a lot of vibration during ship maneuvers being above the propellers and even small sea swells made the rolling of the ship worse, Divina rolls around quite a lot more than a big ship should do and this was noticeable in other parts of the ship.
The sign that tells you that you cannot smoke in the cabin was hidden behind the curtain on the fixed pain of glass, about halfway through the cruise it was moved to the sliding panel after complaints about people smoking on their balconies.
The meet and greets for the roll call were arranged by Ken who worked hard on arranging them and were somewhat interesting and a disappointment, the first one for thirty minutes was attended by Andre who was the new cruise director who was shadowing Maddie who was to leave the cruise once in Miami, I think Andre was taken by surprise at the comments being made. Only water was provided at the meeting.
A second meeting was arranged so that people on the roll call could meet and talk to each other due to the short time of the first one, sadly this clashed with the re arranged time of the world quiz for us, and again I believe no refreshments were provided.
Andre once again attended a third meeting and gave us an insight into how MSC intended to move forward in the Caribbean, the disappointment comes in because there were a host of senior MSC management people on the ship by this time and not one of them could be bothered to grace us with their presence nor any of the ships officers! Once again only water was provided.
We have heard it said before that MSC need to stop thinking of their passengers as Cargo.
Our thoughts on the Divina â€¦
The Divina is a nice very clean big ship but with small areas and what seems to be less space than on the Poesia and it does have some annoying design traits, the Villa Rossa dining room is located on Deck Six at the back of the ship and can only be accessed by Lift or by stairs from Deck Seven, to go from Villa Rossa to say Deck Five you have to go up and across Deck Seven and then down again.
The Atrium of Divina is possibly the best part of the ship in our opinion and looks great and it also looks like where most of the money was spent, especially the staircases.
Public toilets have no Hot water! And most have just two toilets in them, there also appeared to be a lack of them around or close to the Aqua Park.
Pools are Salt water as is the water slide, the Spa area is nice and the staff always greeted you with a smile, you need to watch you do not walk into the tall mirrored glass that are next to the walkway to the sauna, changing rooms and steam rooms which were free to use on this cruise unlike on Poesia last year.
At the bars we had no problem getting drinks although on busy nights in some it can get a little slow with not enough servers. The Jazz bar colour looks as though it has been imported from Costa and is not the usual MSC style, this bar is the only way to go forward to the theatre on this deck even if you come through the sports bar and many times people were walking past right in front of the singers despite the main route being to the left.
There are two rows of three glass mirrors on each side prior to the buffet entry when coming from the lifts on Deck 14, no idea what the reason is for this although the theme of mirrors was replicated all over the ship especially on the staircases.
The Buffet design although light and airy also suffers from lack of walking space between the tables and the food areas, with two of the beverage areas in the worst place possible next to a door leading to and from the kitchen. If you want salad be prepared to walk from one side to the other to get all you need unless you get the prepared stuff in a bowl from near the bar at the main entrance. At the back of the buffet opposite the bar are some bench seats that are not fixed down, be prepared to get stuck in there as we saw one guy did and could only get out when one waiter forcefully pushed the bench away after the people on the other side refused to moved despite being asked by the waiter his wife and four of us sat close by.
Also be aware of the small kids food area with its little plastic railing and entrance frame which one man walked into and knocked over! Not quite sure why he was in the kids food area.
Despite information to the contrary there were some people who still went into the buffet in swimwear and bathrobes!
Hot water for Tea and Coffee is stored in containers and ran out on numerous occasions so you had to wait for a member of staff to change them over or go elsewhere, not sure why they do not have them plumbed in as some other ships are.
The only passageway between the Black and White lounge on Deck Seven to the Theatre without going outside onto the Deck 7 boat deck has the photo shop and cruise pictures which means there is always a bottleneck of people coming from First dinner seating and the Black and White lounge to the theatre going against those heading to Second sitting dinner or coming from the theatre or other bars.
The boat deck may well be a spoiler for some people because apart from a few small areas forward and aft of the lifeboats you cannot stand at the side rail and gaze out to sea due to the design of the lifeboat stowage.
There is very little deck space between the pool and the small stage used by the Animation team and for those doing the dance exercises which means you have people dancing in between the sun beds around you. On Deck 15 there is very little room between the two rows of sun beds in many areas and people are constantly falling over them or kicking them as they go by, this area is also used by those jogging or walking.
We did not have any problems finding a sun bed during the whole cruise.
The Black and White lounge is the biggest lounge on the ship but is way too small for the number of people who wanted to use it and also had a lack of seating, it also possibly has the most uncomfortable and worst seats of the whole ship.
The theatre is a mix of Red seating and Silver paneling and poor lighting on the stage that made it difficult at times to see what was going on during the shows some of which were the same ones from the year previous on Poesia. On the nights we visited the theatre it was never full.
Anyone hoping to get to the front of the Divina for a view will be disappointed as this space is taken up by the Yacht club which houses around 4% of guests on the whole ship.
The ship has the usual range of shops like the Logo shop, wristwatches and sunglasses, jewelry and handbags and duty free.
The Disco appeared to be very under utilized in the evenings on this crossing, maybe it will get more use in the Caribbean.
This is always a difficult one because what one person likes another one may hate, the buffet food was the same as the previous years repo cruise on Poesia and at times lacked taste and was quite bland, the new size burgers were just meat and no flavour. Offerings for sweets at lunch and dinner were the same for the whole 18 days of the cruise and very unimaginative. The breakfast smoothies were one of the things to look forward to with Mango and Strawberry being our two favorites. Look out for Jennifer at breakfast who will have you one there in no time and they are best mixed by Kevin behind the bar.
The Dining room on the first night was late for second sitting with people going in at 9-30 instead of 9 pm and at 9 pm the next night instead of 8-30 but the following nights seemed to sort themselves out at 8-30. Food in the evening also suffered from up and down syndrome, one-day good the next poor with the odd really good one thrown in, there appeared to be a problem of consistency from night to night. Of the Four Gala nights again it was a case of 1 really good, 1 not bad and 2 poor. Towards the last five nights the Dining room was maybe only half full. Tables in the Villa Rossa dining room were mainly for between 6 and 8 people and it seemed that there were not enough tables for two people. The Majority of people seemed to observe the dress code in the Dining room especially on Gala nights.
The Cold fruit soups were once again one of the best foods served.
Lamb shank one night was a big order by many in both the Black Crab and Villa Rossa; it was also possibly the most returned or left meal due to the meat being tough. The Duck that night also suffered the same fate although later in the cruise the Duck a`lorange was possibly one of the best meals of the cruise.
The steaks went from wafer thin to be replaced mid cruise by decent thick tasty ones although we are still baffled as to how one arrived part well done and part pink inside!
The after dinner sweets were again somewhat lackluster and on a few occasions we headed to the CafÃ© Del Doge for the better tasting offerings though there is a charge.
Iced water was served from jugs without being asked for and coffee was available after dinner for those who wanted it.
There were complaints of slow service in some areas of the dining rooms which may have been down to the fact that one kitchen serves one deck of the Black Crab dining room while the other one served the Villa Rossa and the other floor of the Black Crab, it may also be because the assistant waiters are away getting drinks while the waiters are busy doing everything else.
Smoking is allowed on Deck 14 on the port side where you come out of the buffet and the bar with the Gelato is also on this side! A bad move in our opinion by MSC, they should have moved the smokers over to the other side.
Many of the staff are from Poesia and have worked the Caribbean before, the Animation team lead by Claudio (ex Poesia) with Brendan, Zac, Yves, Sean, Adam, Julio and the others work their backsides off to get people involved in the games but were it seems handicapped by management on this cruise for some reason in the Black and White lounge in the evenings.
The main band (ex Poesia) also seemed to have their hands tied singing the same set in the same order almost every night in the Black and White lounge where 95% of entertainment was dancing.
It would be helpful if before they cruised MSC advised guests that there are to be theme nights on their cruise, Divina had a White party but had to be cancelled on the outside deck due to rain, a smaller version took place inside. Then there was a /60`s/ 70`s/80`s night which was the actual dress code for that night along with a Carnival and Red White and Green night.
There were Four Gala nights onboard, Two casual, a 60/70/80`s, Green White and Red, Carnival, Casual or White and Eight Informal.
The water slide was available for anyone to use despite a sign saying teens only and we made full use of it on a few days, the 4D cinema was good though a cost is incurred of $7 per film, the F1 racing simulator costs $9 a go, the Shuffleboard court yes just the one is virtually unusable when there are sun beds on either side and also the entry canopy to the Top18 solarium ($10 a day for a sun bed) at one end. Surely someone must have noticed the issue of putting the court there?
During the Five day sea crossing with no satellite signal MSC announced that the pay films would be available for Free, what they failed to say was the system was only able to accommodate 500 TVâ€™s and each day the system crashed. They were upgrading the system with the new TV programmes as we sailed to Miami from San Juan that meant a visit to every TV on the ship to re programme them all.
Cruise cards seemed to be a problem this year for some reason and between us we had them replaced 11 times for various reasons including bar machines not reading them and failing to open the cabin door, plus the original ones not having the drink package code on them. Other people we knew onboard had similar issues with their cards.
Customer Service Desk â€¦
Very helpful staff although it did take Four visits over Six days to get the first days bar charges taken off our account due to not having the drink package code on our original sea pass cards.
Ports Visited â€¦
Malta way too short only around Five hours, Malaga 5 1/2 hours, Madeira Full day, St Maarten Full day, St Thomas Full day for some due to US immigration, San Juan Full day.
Getting off the ship at a few of the ports was a scrum at times because only one exit was used which was off the Atrium and having so many people in such a small space looked like disorganised chaos.
Cruise highlights â€¦
The Ports visited, the best theatre show that we saw was Wonderland.
Meeting many of the crew from the Poesia again especially Wayan our waiter from last year, Claudio from the Animation team, Sylvia in the Bacco bar and all the others. Meeting those roll call members we had chance to along with many others, taking part in the various quiz rounds and games. Visiting the two remaining ports on the itinerary that we had not been to, a visit to the everglades and our two days/nights in Miami despite the storm on the last night, meeting Police Officer Sergeant Bello of the Miami Beach police department who was one of the officers keeping an eye on the two buildings being built on South beach for an Art exhibition.
Cruise Lows â€¦
The big one of losing a port day and arriving a day early in Miami for an advertising day by MSC just so the Divina could be the only ship in port on the 19th of November! Not what we paid for and being fed a constant stream of excuses as to why it was being done, the worst of all making out that it was so passengers could enjoy an â€œExcitingâ€ day in Miami! Many of who had already made plans to stay for 2 or more days already. Plus there were people on the ship who live in Miami and Florida.
Some Theatre shows were the same as the Poesia repo cruise last year but with different singers and dancers who were not as good, very much the same menu and food as last year with a few changes. The Captain and Hotel Manager were also from the Poesia along with Cruise Director Maddie.
We were told by staff that around 1500 passengers got off the ship on the 19th rather than stay on an extra night. You have to vacate the cabin by 7am.
We will never understand the Italian way of organization of sending people to the farthest point when there is a shorter route, being on the back of the ship our allocated lounge was the theatre!
We queued at the gangway exit for around Thirty minutes during which point people were told that there was an issue with the elevated walkway! The very same one that had been used all the previous day and night and was being used by the people in front of us who had already left the ship.
The real reason was the slow baggage handling that was going on down below us, have these people learned nothing ? Tell people the Truth of what is happening and stop making up stories in order to cover up the problems.
Having left the ship with other people we had sailed with last year we headed to the baggage claim area which was three halls with a conveyor belt unlike most other places we had been to where cases are stored in their respective colours tag wise and you go and collect them.
The bags came through very slow and we waited around sixty minutes for ours, one German man had been waiting over two hours! Others waited longer.
We would count ourselves as liking big ships over small ones having sailed the Oasis, Mariner of the seas and Ruby Princess and while many people will like Divina for various reasons we cannot see ourselves traveling on any of the other three Fantasia class ships of MSC. One reason being that there is no access to the front of the ship other than for those staying in the Yacht club.
The Musica class of which Poesia belongs in our opinion has more wow factor than the Divina and has better-allocated space; any future cruises with MSC will likely be on this class of ship.
To quote one lady who has been on all the MSC class of ships including twice on Divina, â€œDivina is all show and no substanceâ€ her preferred ship is the Sinfonia.
Any cruise day at sea is always better than a day at work and some cruises are more memorable than others, sadly this cruise will be remembered for all the wrong reasons.
After three cruises we are able to say that MSC although only being Twelve years old and young in terms of cruising compared to the likes of Carnival etc have a good product but it is let down by inconsistency in food in various areas and poor management especially those of the land based operations.
We just returned from a Yacht Club (YC) cruise on the MSC pDivina. If cruising regularly this is the only way to travel. We had a Butler who was extraordinary. His name KAMIL . This man was at our beck and call all our waking hours and with a SMILE from his heart. Now I will say the Yacht Club was not filled to capacity so he only had few guests to handle on this voyage. We requested coffee and juice at 8AM and you could set BIG BEN by his tap tap at our door everyday. A tray with HOT coffee,warmed milk,fresh squeezed OJ,rolls & buns and fresh fruit and a BIG smile.
The YC has a special pool,bar and restaurant just for YC guests.Yes this is little more pricy but alcohol drinks are free incl.wines by the glass.here is a ex of what we had one evening after having bloody Mary's all day by the pool .We sat down for dinner at 7:30 bottle water poured,followed by several glasses of Prosseco,while we thought about what to order,white wine with the App, salad and pasta course red wine withmeat dish followed by after dinner drks with dessert.We did this every night U can't beat it with a stick.
We found the meals wonderful and as long as U ordered 1 from each choice at the end of dinner you were filled. Some folks complained about "coffee too strong,beef tough,portions too small" I say if you want American coffee and beef don't go to Italy -portions are small they are gourmet - people pay$$$ in the states for this type of food.This is white glove service. My only complaint about YC is U can only get the alcohol drks in the YC bars(2) and The Muse Rest. This policy prevented us from going anywhere else on the Ship (didn't want to spend more$) so we did no shopping on board I heard they had lovely shops. I may have been tempted to buy something!
When you board the Ship U get a YC key there is NO reason why one could not present that key at any Bar or Restaurant on the the Ship for the same choices given at the YC bar.THIS IS MY ONLY COMPLAINT. It was a fabulous vacation with SPECIAL thanks to KAMIL.
I was totally disappointed
1. I booked an aurea suite which costs twice as a balconi room. For me and anybody else a suite is an accomodation with two different areas: a living room and a bedroom,everything else can be called a junior suite or a large room.
Msc at the beginning of their brochure shows a real suite but then l ater on changes the names and talks about corner suite.i was innocent and let my travel agency make the booking.
What i got was a room basicallly the same as a normal room but hear this i could not open the window,so for the honor of having what they call a suite i had no balcony.i feel completely deceived and i think that msc should not be allowed to do this.
DONT RENT AUREA SUITES IF YOU DONT WANT TO FEEL LIKE A FOOL.
2.dont try to have breakfast after 07:30 you will not find a place to seat,same applies to lunch after an excursion,or to find a sunbed when everybody is board.
3. We bought the allegrissimo premium drinks program,which in theory gives you free everything,beware we paid 42per afdult and i think 18 per child.we were 6 adults amnd 4 children so make your calculation, surprise at the end you have to pay an additional fee per person per day for the pleasure of having bought the program.why doesnt msc charge from the beginning the total?
They give you the impression it is cheaper and then hit you.
I am sure they will be happy to hear that i will never use them,and i tell you the larger the ship the better for them but it is worst for you. I want to add that from the moment i saw the room i went to the reception to complain i asked to see a manager which i finally saw 48 hours later, she was polite but of no use,as an alternative they offered me a normal room which costs half the suite.