We had a GREAT time!
MSC Divina Cruise Review to Caribbean - Western
The bad was simply a little bit of a language barrier with a few of the crew. The second day I stood in two very long but incorrect lines because I asked where I needed to be only to wait and wait and wait in line, get to the front and be told I was at the wrong desk. This happened twice. I finally found the correct line on my own. I was nearly in tears after the frustration of standing and waiting. I seriously thought my vacation was going to be ruined.
The only other things, which are really kind of minor to me, was that the buffet was really crowded and there was not enough seating during meal times (just go before or after meal times...easily solved) and my husband really hated going to the dining room because it is very, very slow. It's an Italian ship and they serve like Italians eat. It always took us more than 2 hours for dinner. I didn't mind, but it drove my husband crazy to take 30 minutes to get our appetizers and 30 minutes after we were done with our appetizers to get our entrees and then another 30 minutes after we finished them to get our dessert. He's a chef so wanted to jump into the galley to speed things up, LOL. Now not being able to get my water glass refilled, or the bread server to come to our table was a little irritating to me. We had the early seating and the pace didn't bother me until our server would start rushing us (to the point of kind of being rude) because they were getting ready for the second seating. I just thought if there wasn't a half hour of waiting for our next course every single time, there wouldn't have been a rush to get us out of there.
I did run into one really rude server on our last night on the ship. She worked at the specialty coffee shop, brought us 2 incorrect coffees and then when I (very politely) told her that wasn't our order, she said "well we don't have what you ordered" turned and walked away without even attempting to apologize, correct our order or do anything at all to make things right. If I could have taken her tip away, I would have instantly, except that would have required me standing in yet another very long line and it wasn't worth it. Obviously she knew this so didn't care how she treated her guests.
Now for the GOOD!! Our cabin steward, Albert, was FANTASTIC!! Albert learned our names immediately. My name is very unusual and no one ever remembers it, but Albert did :-D He was just so friendly and smiley and seemed to enjoy what he was doing or at least the interactions he had with guests. If I could choose my cabin steward next time, I would for sure ask for him. Our cabin, 13049, was AMAZING. Not only was it a little bigger than I expected, but there was way more storage than I expected. The best part was the balcony!!! It was on a part of the ship that curves around so we had a huge balcony. We couldn't see forward, but we got to enjoy the water, the breeze, pulling into and out of ports and could see all the balconies behind us, LOL. We could hear deck chairs scraping the floors while the crew was cleaning the deck and moving chairs around, but it was very minor. I would definitely try to get this cabin again!
Another thing I liked, was the fact that I saw the Captain a lot...A WHOLE LOT. This was our first cruise so maybe that's normal, but I didn't expect to see him around that much. It made me feel like he really cared what was going on with his ship. He was very polite and seemed to enjoy interacting with the guests.
Speaking of the ship, oh my gosh it was BEAUTIFUL!! Sparkled everywhere. I don't think I saw one dirty spot on the entire ship. Clean, clean, clean and fancy. Can't even think of anything negative to say!!
The food...YUMMY! I saw some negative about the buffet in previous reviews but we never did run into anything bad. I realized the first day that if we got our food first and then found seating our food would get cold. So after that first lunch, we made sure we had a place to sit first and we never had cold food again. The pizza was wonderful. We had pizza every single night for a midnight snack, LOL. The food in the dining room was also very good. I'm not sure why there are so many negative reviews about the food, because what we had was wonderful. The buffet is massive. It just kept going and going and going. I walked into the next room and there was more buffet. Then I walked into the next room and guess what? Yep more buffet. There was at least 5 or 6 additional "rooms" with buffet AND it went all the way around, so double buffet in all those rooms. I've never seen anything like it!! Even my extremely, horribly picky 9 year old always found something he liked to eat. I got him to try a croissant and after that he had croissants for breakfast every morning (along with bacon and eggs)!
One of my son and grandson's favorite things onboard was the soft serve ice cream machine in the main pool area. They probably had ice cream at least 3 times a day (we were on vacation, so no food was off limits, hee hee).
The kids cooking class was so much fun! The kids made gnocchi and we got to watch, record, take pictures and even ended up with flour on our faces!! Our kids were a little too old to stay in the kids club. They were 9 and 13 but said most of the kids were 7 and under. So they pretty much hung out at the pool, ate ice cream, explored the ship and occasionally would join us (not their choice).
The entertainment was very good, but the daily entertainment crew (which was busy day AND night) were FABULOUS!! There were several that entertained the crowd before the big shows and at the theme parties and they were really great. I just wanted to follow them around all the time to keep laughing!!
Embarkation, debarkation and shore excursions seemed to be very well organized. We signed the kids up for the dolphin and stingray swim in Georgetown. The day before we got a letter in our cabin saying one of us had to book at least an observer excursion for $70 in order for the kids to be able to go. I didn't want to pay $140 for both of us to simply observe, so I booked my photographer husband to go with them and I took a tour of "Hell" (small town on Grand Cayman). The bus tour was a lot of fun, but after the boys' swim I found out the "observer" fee included swimming with the stingrays. I wish they had told me that when I was booking my husband. I thought it only paid for the observer to travel with the swimmers and that they wouldn't be close enough to actually see much except through a long lens camera. I would have paid the $70 to join in and get to watch the boys have so much fun!! FYI: The Cayman Islands shops do NOT negotiate like Jamaica and the Bahamas do.
In Cozumel we did the Tulum Mayan Ruins and it was magnificent. I wouldn't do that excursion again because it was 7 hours and it was very fast paced. We didn't really get enough time at Tulum to see everything and take as many pictures as we wanted. We were also supposed to be able to swim there but ran out of time. It was so hot that our 9 year old got sick. If we ever get a chance, we want to take a trip to Tulum not by ship, but actually book a hotel and get to spend a couple of days there.
We didn't have excursions booked for Jamaica or Nassau. The "harassment" of all the people trying to sell you stuff was almost scary. FYI: Both negotiate everything, so don't pay full price for anything!! In Jamaica we got to take a $10 per person glass bottom boat tour that guests on our ship paid $50 for because there was a guy negotiating to fill the boat up. He started at $25 and then dropped all the way to $10 when we said no. That was unplanned but ended up being a whole lot of fun!! In Nassau we were so exhausted from the heat and it was raining off and on, that we basically bought a couple of souvenirs and went right back on the boat. The harassment there was even worse than Jamaica and I was so exhausted from the heat and pace that I just couldn't deal with it. I wish we had taken the ferry over to Atlantis ($4 per person), but didn't find out about that until it was too late to make it back to the ship in time.
This was our first cruise, but we had such a fantastic time! I would have liked to give it 4.5 stars but it had to be 4 or 5. I only chose 4 because of the lines I waited in and the one rude server. Other than that I would have given it a 5. I highly, highly recommend this ship. I am already planning to try out the new MSC Seaside next year!!
Food and Dining
Service and Staff
Cabin / Stateroom
Get a table before you get your food at the buffet or your food will get cold before you find a place to sit. If you have a balcony cabin and booked the Fantastica package, take advantage of the complimentary room service breakfast on the balcony as often as possible!! Beautiful start to your day!!