Originally from NYC, then Connecticut, and now Mount Dora, FL
March 2018 - 7 Night Eastern Caribbean & Bahamas (Miami Roundtrip) Cruise on MSC Seaside
May 2016 - 7 Night Eastern Caribbean (Miami Roundtrip) Cruise on MSC Divina
Great Value, Unique Offerings
Just returned from Eastern Caribbean cruise on the Divina and thought that I would give my input. I should mention that this was my first MSC cruise and the first cruise on a large ship (almost all our cruises have been on Holland America, which we thoroughly enjoyed). First of all, the ship is beautiful and well laid out. Only quirk was not being able to get to the Villa Rosa dining room on deck 6 from anywhere else on that deck without going to another deck. The ship is very well cleaned and maintained.
We had a balcony cabin that was roomy enough. The sliding rather than swing door to the balcony is a good feature. Storage is sufficient and lighting is good except that all lights go on when all that you want is to see in the closet which is inconvenient if someone else is in bed.
The food: The buffet food is very good, a lot of variety including ethnic specialties (not just Italian, but that is definitely there), and arranged so lines are not too long even on a rainy sea day. The food in the main dining rooms is also very good . Portions may be a little smaller than I have had on other ships, but multiple servings are available without problems and you don't have to walk away being uncomfortably over stuffed. We did not eat in any of the specialty restaurants except for the pizza at La Cantina del Bacco which was possibly the best pizza I have ever had and that includes New York City and Italy. We had the Margarita de Buffalo, and at $13.00 for a 12" pie it is a bargain. The same location gives you complimentary appetizers when you order drinks. By the way, drink prices are reasonable and a range of package deals are available. We opted for the 18 coupon book that comes to about $5/drink for any non-premium drink, including service charge.
Staff is friendly and accommodating. Cabin staff are not as present as we are used to but rooms are well attended to. Wait staff in bars and dining rooms are attentive and friendly, remembering your preferences. My only issue is that many do have a language problem which is especially an issue with those dealing directly like bartenders and reception desk.
Entertainment is excellent and varied, including an afternoon opera. There are a wide range of activities. Smoking is limited to a cigar lounge and one side of the pool area.
Overall, MSC is a good value and we would definitely go on it again.
March 2014 - 7 Night Eastern Caribbean (Ft. Lauderdale Roundtrip) Cruise on Westerdam
Typical HAL Quality
This was our sixth cruise on Holland America (eight cruise overall), the first on the Westerdam; so we had expectations with regard to service, food, and accomodations. We were not disappointed at all with the service or the food. With regard to accomodations, our only complaint is the veranda was not deep enough to allow the partition between our veranda and our neighbors (who we were traveling with) to be opened and still allow our door to our cabin to open. I should note that previous cruises were on decks 7 and 8 which have a deeper veranda to allow an overhang for our deck 5 cabin on this cruise. We will just book higher decks from now on. Cabin size, including bathroom, was excellent by cruise standards, with plenty of storage.
We cannot say enough about the service and food on HAL cruises. Cabin attendees are thorough, accomdating, and friendly; they called us by name from the first day. Waiters and servers in the dining room are equally as good, treating us like we were their only responsibility--yet doing the same for other passengers. The entire crew exhibits the same friendliness, whether serving you or just passing you in the hall or other common areas. The food was excellent, whether in the main dining room, the Lido buffet, or the only specialty restaurant that we dined at on this cruise (Canaletto).
All HAL ships follow similar formats with regard to cabins, common areas, layout, names, etc. with differences in size and decor specifics. This made it easy for navigating the ship, especially if you have cruised HAL before. Being the last cruise for the Westerdam before heading to drydock for refurbishing, we did not know what the expect with regard to the condition of the ship. We were pleasantly surprised that there was little sign of wear.
March 2013 - 7 Night Western Caribbean (Ft. Lauderdale roundtrip) Cruise on Nieuw Amsterdam
HAL Great until Customs Took Over
March 2013 - 14 Night Western/Eastern Caribbean (Ft. Lauderdale roundtrip) Cruise on Nieuw Amsterdam
HAL Great until Customs Took Over
Only used for embarking and disembarking
Been there before and only went for some shopping.
Canceled due to high seas; not our favorite port and may not have gone ashore anyway.
Except for beaches, and some of the usual shopping, not a lot there.
Install and explore the MSC for Me app
Take the water ferry to downtown and spend the day along the beach, shopping, eating, bathing.
Not much there
Don't pass up the made-to-order pizza
Get local bus tour but check prices.
Want to just relax, take water taxi to town for beachm shopping, etc.
Favorite stop for HAL cruises--private beach. Kayak tour is good bargain.
Much to see just walking around.
Park off-site for value.
Room service and/or Lido for breakfast, Lido for lunch, dining room for dinner. Reserve a table near rear of dining room (at window if possible) for great views.
Not much there to do unless signed up for land excursions.
Easy on (off a problem due to Customs)
Lido for breakfast and lunch; dining room for dinner (reserve a table in rear for great views while dining).
Dockside shops great--stop more suited for land excursions.
Best part of trip--like being on your own private island.
Could not go due to weather
Lido for breakfast and lunch; dining room for dinner.
Rent a clamshell before your cruise, for the shade. Plenty to do even without the shore excursions.