Sail Date: September 10, 2016
Reviewed: 6 months ago
Traveled As: Couple
Room Type: Balcony
My husband and I booked our cruise on the Divina because of the price. We have cruised on Carnival 5 times and Royal once (I couldn't help but compare my experience with MSC to Carnival and Royal). Here's what we thought about our experience:
Ship was beautiful. We were the last cruise before a 3 week dry dock and you could tell that it was time for some minor maintenance, but overall it was clean and well maintained.
Food was very good - desserts and breads excellent.
Embarkation and Debarkation - very smooth, best we've ever experienced.
Ports and excursions - no real difference between MSC or the others.
Onboard activities - well done, but geared for the sedentary (arts and crafts, Italian lessons)
*Let me preface by saying that "bad" means not at par with our other experiences - but by no means did it ruin our trip.
Service - this was our biggest complaint...we just didn't feel like the staff really cared. On Carnival you feel like you are leaving your family by the time you get off the ship. They go out of their way to make sure you know you are a valued guest. On MSC the staff are polite, but not warm or friendly. You feel like a customer (and sometimes like an annoyance) rather than a guest. Here are a few, minor examples:
We had to ask for bathrobes in our stateroom - we were told that those are for a "different class of guests"; 2 days later bathrobes showed up.
I don't think we had a single day when all the towels (Beach, Bath, Hand, and Washcloth) were all clean at the same time. Our steward would take all the dirty towels, but only replace the bath or hand towels. He'd take both beach towels, but only brought 1 back. This went on the full week.
The dining room service was seriously sub-par. Bread came once - if you didn't ask for what you wanted the first go around, you wouldn't get it. On about our 5th night (with the same wait staff, and requesting the same type of roll each night) our waiter just decided to give me what HE thought I should have, instead of what I requested (he did this on two other occasions - with the meal he wanted me to have). It was impossible to get your drinks refilled - we were simply ordering water each night and got into the habit of asking to have both our water and wine glasses filled with water, because we knew they wouldn't be around again to top off our drinks. I developed a sore throat, in the middle of the trip, and asked for some lemons and hot water - they were very good about having my cup with lemons each night after that, but getting the hot water was another story!
Another major disappointment had to do with the Adults Only deck; Carnival's Serenity deck is like spending the day at the spa. The couches, lounge chairs, and loveseats are divine. They have fresh towels for you to exchange. The bar is right there in case you'd like a cold drink. There are no children (not that I don't like kids, but when I leave mine home, I don't want to be bothered by someone else's). All of this on the best deck of the ship, with the best view - for FREE. There is an adult deck on MSC, BUT...1. you have to pay for admittance. 2. You're paying for the same deck chairs that are free - 10 feet away. 3. There are no services in this area - no towel exchange, no bar, nothing. We would have been willing to pay for the peace and quiet if there had been any ammenities, but there were not.
My sister-in-law, and her husband have cruised with us before. They sailed on the Divina the week before we did (with her husband's family) and as we compared notes we all came to the same conclussion -
If the price and itinerary were the same, between Carnival and MSC, we'd always choose Carnival.
If MSC was running a killer deal - we'd be willing to sail with them again.
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|Cabin / Stateroom||Cabin was very nice. We had a very obstructed view, which we were told was a slight possibility; not Divina's fault, but our own for not requesting a higher deck. I would definately recommend asking for a balcony room on decks 9-12 if you don't want to stare out at the lifeboats.|
|Embarkation and Disembarkation||Smoothest process we've experienced.|
|Ship Quality||Overall good. My major complaint was the gym (too small) and the walking track (after 8 am the deck chairs were pulled out in the middle of the track - and you had to walk through the bar/smoking area!)|
|Destinations and Excursions|
|Onboard Activities||Geared for the sedentary set.|
|Entertainment||Talent was excellent - no real variety.|
|Service and Staff||Crew was polite but not friendly or welcoming.|
|Food and Dining||Food was good - service marginal.|
As odd as it sounds...attend the afternoon opera. The talent was excellent.