MSC Divina Cruise Review by teamflames
- Sail Date: November 2018
- Destination: Western Caribbean
- Cabin Type: Bella Balcony Stateroom
We used their status match to gain black status under the MSC program, this enabled us to use priority check in, the line for check in was so short that it didn’t help but we were allowed to board the ship earlier.
The ship is gorgeous both outside and internally, with the magnificent staircase the showpiece. We had just disembarked the NCL epic and despite being similar sizes this ship felt far more spacious. The internal public areas stretched over 3 floors on the lower levels plus the upper floor buffet, disco and spa. The outdoor areas were also spacious with several hidden sun areas. There were loads of bars and cafes and the theatre is huge. I loved that it was easy to see the ocean from so many different locations (except forward).
Our cabin was a “Bella” on deck 9 it was larger than expected with a full sofa. Storage was good and the balcony was a reasonable size. The bathroom is a little smaller than other ships but functioned fine with only one person at a time. There is a stark lack of amenities in the bathroom. The bed was comfortable. The tv had basic channels but more than on other mainline ships we have tried. We enjoyed using our balcony although the smoke and ash from smokers on the promenade and those flaunting the rules occasionally marred the experience.
Dining - this was the major disappointment with the cruise. Things appeared great on embarkation with a huge buffet spread including amazing cheeses and cold cuts, fabulous pizza and salads but this turned out to be the only highlight. There are 2 mdr but you are assigned to fixed dining and shared tables. We begged for and received one of the few 2 tops but it was adjacent to the front door and was an uncomfortable position. Service was efficient but the food was simply terrible. Easily the worst food I have experienced on a cruise ship. The pasta was an embarrassment to an Italian line. On a normal cruise we would never dine in the buffet for dinner but on this cruise we had to give up on the mdr. The buffet wasn’t much better with only half the stations open, the meat was very poor quality. By the end we limited ourselves to pizza and salad. We tried the Italian specialty restaurant as we had a free meal there under our status. We were given a table next to a tv with sports playing, a bag of torn stale bread (I thought it was to feed fish with), an incredibly limited option of courses we could choose. The main food was good, the service was aloof. I would not pay the high prices they were demanding otherwise but I understand given how bad the food in the mdr was why people would pay.
Entertainment- The cruise director was the worst we have come across. He rarely made an appearance and when he did he spoke in such a cockney accent that even myself as an Australian struggled to understand him. the nightly shows were basic song and dance numbers using the same cast, in a couple of shows acrobatic performers were incorporated which helped improve the standard. It was such a shame to see such an amazing theatre and stage so under-utilised with next to no stage production. The audience receptions were very muted. There were a couple of opera performances which was a nice change. There was a large activities staff with a lot of activities but generally poor in comparison to NCL. There was a lot of dance classes which were lots of fun. There was one water slide. 3 pools was an upside. The formula one car was fun but was regularly broken (most noticeably when they offered it as a prize for trivia games hmmm).
Service - average overall. Bar staff were very mixed but the problem was the drinks packages were confusing, the upgrade offerings onboard were different to those offered via the internet and this led to a lot of confusion. We finally requested a meeting with management who simply denied there was a problem, to their credit though they must have marked our card as from that moment onward we were given almost anything we liked. However wine was still regularly poured into tumblers. The beer and wine offerings were very inconsistent between locations. The quality of cocktails was the worst we have encountered. The good points were that they would simply leave the whole bottle of wine on the table in the mdr. The coffee was the best we have had at sea. There were 2 great coffee bars and the gelato was also great.
Guest relations was probably the best we have encountered, still average but better than normal, with questions able to be answered, problems followed up, and the telephone actually answered.
The gym was great, open and airy with loads of equipment. The spa was terrible, the staff were statutes. The thermal area had his and her steam rooms and saunas but no jacuzzi or spa. A very small resting area with no drinks or easy towel access. The change rooms had no amenities at all ... completely ridiculous.
We did one shore excursion which simple reiterated my long held belief to never do the, again. We were treated like children forced to stand in lines and yelled at as if we could not understand basic instructions. The snorkeling trip was promised as 3 reef locations of National Geographic style, it was a beginners style experience with life jackets enforced, the 3 locations were within 100 metres of each other clearly on the same reef next to another cruise ship in jelly fish infested waters that my wife is now suffering scars from. I still believe I should sue both companies for how bad this experience was.
I am not sure we would cruise with MSC again despite loving our cabin and the public areas, the food and dining experiences were simply too poor. There was a lack of interest by senior officers and management and it just led to a feeling of chaos. We were regularly informed that there had been a large staff turnover just 10 days prior but good management should overcome this.
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