April 2014 - 7 Night Western Caribbean (Miami Roundtrip) Cruise on MSC Divina
I have a lot to say about rude and lack luster service on this ship but I decided to focus this review on the kid stuff since I couldn't find much on it when I was researching.
As a cruiser that has done 3 Disney Cruises with my boys, I was concerned about the level of kid activities on this cruise. I knew that nothing was going to compare to the Disney experience and I had very grounded expectations that it was not going to compare so I tried to research the kids club on the Divina and couldn't find much information or reviews about it. I had all the intentions of posting videos and pictures of the kids club so those searching after me could see what I couldn't. Now I know why I couldn't find any real information or reviews.....because it was so sucky my kids refused to even enter the room. The Mini 3-6yr and Junior7-11yr groups are in ONE room. The room is about 1000sq ft big. From what I could see from the entrance, there were no free play areas. No real toys or video games or anything to do independently. I asked if there were other rooms and there were not. The kids club consists of set times that they do group activities. All the time, group activities. They usher the kids around the ship and make them sit if they choose not to participate in the current activity. It is glorified pre-school. My 8yr old and 10yr old were not interested in this. From the description on the MSC website, I knew it wasn't going to be a huge kid club experience but I at least expected that the kids would be able to hang out, make friends, play Wii or board games and chill. Nope. And from what I could tell, there is no way for them to contact you if your child is having an issue. So that also made me uncomfortable. Their website brags about their gaming experience. There were not gaming systems available for free play. They had scheduled Wii tournaments and that was it. They also brag about their fun @ sea on their website....4D movies, bowling, F-1 simulator and video games. THIS IS ALL THEY HAVE TO DO AS A KID, and it all cost extra. $1.50 to $3 per video game. $5-$7 for the 4D movie which the one day I went to see what it was, it was the same Jett and Jin Jetpack Adventure they have at Chuck E Cheese for 25cents. Bowling is $7 (not sure if that is per person or per game) and it is a duck pin pub game with the pins hanging from strings, not a true bowling lane. Not even sure how much the F-1 simulation was but watching a kid try it and sit there not knowing how to shift gears and not being able to go anywhere, all I could see is $ signs clicking away in my head as his time ran out. They have playing cards and board games that you can sign out. My boys wanted to play chess. No Chess. SERIOUSLY?! We winded up sitting in the empty disco playing cards. As far as other family structured activities on the ship. NONE. Bingo was a joke. They only play one cover-all game each time and most of the time it is at the noisy pool deck. I like doing activities to get OUT of the sun for a bit, not sit in the hot sun and crowd and noise to try to play bingo. They had a couple trivia games in the piano lounge but they were not kid oriented. All other activiites were dance lessons and exercise classes. THAT IS IT. NO JOKE. There was nothing to do. I actually paid for video games and bought them legos to play with which i NEVER do on vacation and let them play their DS which I also normally take away because I want to do things together and have a fun experience as a family not have them lost in their DS. It was the only thing for them to do when we wanted to be off the pool deck.
We peeked into the Tween/Teen room. It was about 600-700sq feet. Had some couches, nutella shaped coffee table stool things, a table with Risk and one Wii. Nothing else. Also a combined area. I can't imagine too many teens that would enjoy that space.
OK so there is a water slide....the kids got stuck in it and had to paddle themselves down it. it wasn't steep enough to actually slide down. They did the one run, declared it awful and that was that. I watched several kids come out of the end of the slide and not go back up for a second run so it was the agreed opinion of the slide.
The one saving grace is that the pool areas were very nice (minus the discruntled pool deck attendant that was yelling at all the kids for playing in the water features as designed. The interior pool area was extremely slippery but it was a design flaw, not the fault of the children playing in the water. The attendant was extremely rude to me). I enjoyed their pools much more than on Disney. Bigger pools and more pools. They are salt water pools. I felt that it was much safer. On Disney, we will not go to the pool deck on "at sea" days because the Donald pool is so crowded it is dangerous.
Bottom line: If you have younger kids that enjoy group activities, coloring and that kind of pre-school structured activities, then they might really enjoy the kids club. Otherwise, I would not recommend this line if you are planning to have some alone adult time. It isn't going to happen. You will have your kids with you the whole time.