October 2016 - 7 Night Eastern Caribbean (Miami Roundtrip) Cruise on MSC Divina
I just arrived home from my 7 Night /6 day cruise on the MSC Divina. This ship was in dry-dock for the last 3 weeks and was to my dismay was extremely understaffed by several hundred people we were told. In my review of the cruise I will do as a constructed criticism and most honest review as I possibly can.
First we arrived in Miami from Hollywood, FL and it was great. Luggage picked up at curbside and then the fun begins. When you wait in line to present all your documents; you give your passport and paperwork to attendant behind the counter. A guest card is issued but you have to put money into your account on the cruise on board at an automated machine before 2300 or 11pm that day the latest. Mind you they only have 4 such machines on the ship for 4000 guests. We are then given a number to be called before we arrive on the cruise. We wait patiently for about 1 hour before our name is called and then we proceeded to the ramp to board the ship.
We arrived on the deck 5 and they tell you to follow the other people and already you are completely lost. You should be given a map once you arrive on the cruise ship and not have to ask for a map. Once we asked several crew people where the food is; we make our way up to deck 14 for the buffet. The buffet on 14th floor is layed out very haphazardly. There is no rhyme or reason where they put different stations. The beverages are in the middle and desserts are in different areas also. My GF and I become separated and already not even on the cruise an hour we lose each other. It was a total mad house and guests are going every which way. Total confusion and chaos at the buffet!!
Suggestion: Beverage Station might be placed when you walk in to the buffet and not placed in the middle. Lets say we just want a beverage and not food like … morning coffee, juice you can get it quickly and come back later for breakfast or any other meal.
After we find each other we try to find a table before the food become’s cold. I will say the food is plentiful and tastes very good. The pizza is the best I ever had on a cruise. They have whole wheat, pepperoni, olives and pesto and regular cheese. It is my favorite thin crust. Pizza is available 20 hours a day and good and fresh and hot. A+++++++++++++ on the pizza.
Our rooms are available right away and I will say we were very impressed in the size of the room but dismayed by the lack of drawers to put your stuff away. We had 2 night stands with small drawers and 6 drawers in the closet and yes good closets to hang thing up and hangers supplied. But with 2 adults that is not nearly enough drawers to put all your stuff away. In the room is a nice couch and that became my storage area. . Our Stewards who handled our room 9119 was a top of their game. The both stewards for am and pm did a fine job keeping our beds made and our rooms cleanned and maintained. A++++++++++++++ The balcony was great and nice but with a partial obstruction of the life boats below. We were on the 9th floor and the life boats were on the 6th floor. All the pools on the ship are closed since the ship is registered in Panama and a US inspector has to certify that pools are clean. So the only pool that was open was in the back of the ship. More about the pools later….
The safety drill is next at 430pm and that is terrible. They check each key card and if you forget your card you go and retrieve it. We were on the 9th floor and had to go down to the 6 floor for this drill that is so disorganized and mass confusion with all the 6 different languages. We never knew when it was started and ended.
At 6 pm was our 1st seating for dinner and that was terrible. Apparently since the storm Matthew almost disrupted the cruise; and 350 crew members never made it back on the ship and it showed in the kitchen staff. We received all our food by 830pm over 2.5 hours later. The wait staff we were told this was there first day on the ship and it showed. The second seating at 8pm never made it to dinner until 9pm. We are the guests and if you cannot operate at 100% then do cancel the cruise or compensate the guests. We finally finished dinner and went to the show.
Entertainment: The shows were some the best shows I have ever seen on any cruise line. We have sailed on NCL, Carnival, and Celebrity. The dancers were top notch with great costumes and a beautiful theater and sound system. The 4-D Cinema room was also closed or not working during my cruise. That is not right. Tyrone ran the trivia game and never had any prizes for the winners. Very unprofessional and he said when you see him and he may give you a prize.
The swimming pools: were great but way too crowded on sea days. Children should have their own pool and the Adults should have their own area also with a pool and hot tubs. The covered inside pool was great but a suggestion to put lounge chairs in there so people can relax and not have tables with chairs. That area should be a serenity pool area for adults over 18 years of age. The covered slide you have is only for teens and not adults. WHY??? Why can’t the adults have a quiet area that is free!!!
Francisco; Head of Food and Beverage department is the most unprofessional officer we have ever met. We had a meet and great for Cruise Critic and he and fellow officers attended to answers questions and problems pertaining to their areas. Francisco went around the room but started with the people in Tux’s (whom came late) and yacht club members and avoided the regular people. But when my GF cornered him and asked about the problems in the restaurant the night before to told us to take our concerns to reception and he did not want to be bothered with us. He wanted to give a us a sad story why our food took 2.5 hours. An officer of a department should have been a more capable person to listen to our concerns and worked out a solution and not passed the buck to another department. He wanted to spend time with his other officers and friends and not speak to the public.
Just a suggestion when you serve a baked apple for breakfast (It is supposed to be hot). When my GF sent it back to heat it up; all they did was heat the plate. And when my GF ordered lox and bagel and the bagel was served ice cold and rock hard!! Common sense.
Also we went to the two specialty restaurants’ and we were surprised that when we asked for ice tea with dinner they said no and also with dessert no coffee or tea. Weird we are paying extra and we are getting less. Makes no sense to me.
Had a special event for Cruise Critic people and it was presented by Asst Director Miguel. Apparently MSC follows what is written on Cruise Critic and takes value in what is written. I want to say Miguel is one of the most professional people I have ever encountered on a cruise and I give an A+++++++++++ merit when due. I explained to him my concerns and he solved and soothes my concerns and really listened to us.
Overall with the restaurant problems and short of staff; we had a wonderful time and will recommend this cruise. A++
PSS… Hopefully in time they will work out the quirks to do well in the future!!!!