MSC Divina is incredible!
MSC Divina Cruise Review to Caribbean - Eastern
Sail Date: May 07, 2016
Ship: MSC Divina
Cabin Type: Balcony
Cabin Number: 12196
Traveled As: Couple
Reviewed: 2 years ago
We chose MSC because of price and the ship Divina. We had reservations about cruising MSC from many of the reviews so I want to summarize first. This cruise turned out to be our best cruise ever! The ship is beautiful from front to back and still looks brand new. The food was outstanding, the service was above average with the room steward and dining room table waiters being the best we have ever had, and the entertainment deserves all of the world wide awards it has won!
MSC has introduced a lot of innovation in the cruising industry. Some people do not like change, but we applaud change when it makes things better. One example is the key card in the stateroom. When you enter you must put your room key card in a slot on the wall to activate the lighting. I am sure this helps the ship conserve energy, but the real reason they do this is it alerts the room stewards when you are in your room with a small light that goes on above your door in the hallway. It eliminates those irritating knocks on the door when you want privacy and you never get surprised by a steward walking in on you. The efficiency of the steward was absolutely the best.You do not get a chocolate on your pillow or a towel animal every night. Instead you get a meticulously cleaned and prepared room twice a day!
The food including the buffets was excellent. We ate at the buffet for breakfast and lunch only and everything tasted great. I usually take many items to try and find 1/2 not tasting very good and left on my plate, but on the Divina I cleaned my plate every time. The variety on the buffet was everything you find on all other cruises but in addition they offered an ethnic section, a pasta section and a Mediterranean section along with a kids only section. The buffet pizza was very good. The food in the main dining room was excellent every night - so much so we ate their 6 nights. Every course of the meal had great flavor with excellent options and variety. You were always encouraged to eat as much as you wanted and ordering 2nds or 3rds was greeted with a smile and the next portion was there in minutes. On Lobster night I saw many people ordering 2 at a time and one person next to us had 4 Lobsters. The desserts were excellent with great taste. Our water glasses were filled before empty and bread was offered several times throughout the meal. After the 1st night the waiter knew if we wanted our wine glasses refilled and always was right there. The dining service could not be any better!
I highly recommend the drink voucher packages offered before the cruise. We had 2 eighteen drink packages for $84 each including gratuities. That's about $4.25 a drink and you do not pay the 15% gratuity - what a savings. BTW, drink prices on board are incredibly reasonable - most drinks including frozen specialty drinks were under $8.
The entertainment each night was the absolute best we have seen on a cruise. The talent and choreography was as good as Vegas and off Broadway.The Michael Jackson tribute on the last night was the best and the way the show closed everything out by celebrating the ethnicity of the passengers and employees was inspiring. The The evening talent in the bars was excellent and drew big crowds. In our opinion the cheap drinks and drink packages meant the bars were full even at 11 pm which made everything more fun.
To touch on a few of the negative reviews from prior passengers, we just do not get it. The cruise line is European and different in some ways, but not many. The variety of passenger nationalities was great - it gave you a feel of being somewhere different - I do not want to spend my money to feel and eat the same things as I get at home. The people were not rude, they were different. Hearing 3-4 languages in the announcements did not negatively affect us. And BTW there are very few announcements, maybe 2-3 all day. The first day in the buffet was a little unnerving and crowded, but you had 4,000 guests and several hundred workers feeling each other out so there was confusion and stress in a confined area. After the first day everyone was relaxed and there was always someplace to sit - you just had to seek it out. Too many people piled into the buffet entrance and hit the first set of buffet tables- if they would have walked to the 2nd or 3rd set of buffet's they would have easily navigated and found empty tables.
Here are the only negatives we found. but had little effect in our cruise. I do recommend that you demand a room with a sofa - it will give you another 30-40 sq ft. Our room was a little small The pillows in the room were lumpy and below avg. like many reviews said. We would have liked to see more live music by the pool during the day, but there was piped in music when the music was not live. We wish the sports bar would have had more sports channels than espn and espn2. There was a lot of playoff sports going on in hockey and basketball along with world soccer.
The one area people complained legitimately was poolside drink service. You did not see many servers walking the pool chair areas but we figured out the solution early in the cruise. MSC had a very efficient but different system at the pool bars. During peak hours the waitresses took orders at the front of the bar. They took your order and keyed in your key card and drink vouchers enabling the 4-5 bartenders to just mix drinks. It was very fast and efficient.We found you could walk up to the bar, order your drinks through the waitress and tell them where your chairs were and they brought you your drink within minutes.
Disimbarkation was the best we have ever encountered. Again, a little different, but better than others. We had an 8:15 color yellow for disembarkation and were to meet in the theater prior to that time. We ate a leisurely final breakfast around 7:15. Strolled down to the theater around 5 to 8 and turned on our cell phones to catch up to the world again. They called our color around 8:05, a man named Carlos met us and escorted us off the ship. Our luggage was on an airport type carousel and customs was waiting for us and took less than 1 minute. We were in our car and pulling out of the garage at 8:30! WOW!
In closing, we found this cruise to be our best overall. The incredible price did not influence our rating at all, but when you add the price in it makes this cruise an incredible value! We will definitely try MSC again and would do the Divina again in a heartbeat.
Food and Dining
Service and Staff
Cabin / Stateroom
Waitresses are scarce around the pool during peak hours. They never get far from the bar because they take drink orders, run your card and drink vouchers for the bartenders. This way the bartenders are just mixing drinks. Go up and order the drinks through the waitress and they will bring it to you.