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First the good. This is the second time we have been on MSC Divina. She is a large vessel that is absolutely beautiful in design and appointments. She also seems to be extremely well maintained and is kept super clean and well painted. The carpets are clean, the glass and light fixtures are clean (something I notice) and the ship is well lit. Embarkation for us was a big improvement this year for one BIG reason. We are "Black" card level repeat cruisers so we get priority embarkation. MSC finally realized that it does no good to offer priority check in only to then dump everyone in a big room while waiting to board. So now if you get priority check in you also get priority boarding as well. Are you listening other cruise lines? !! The ship operation went very smoothly and the weather while windy for the first few days was mostly sunny. Port arrivals and departures were right on time. We did have to miss the port in Grand Cayman but the captain made every possible attempt to make it happen including parking the ship in the harbor while further assessing the forecast. A storm over the island made it just too rough for safe tender service so we had an extra day at sea and an earlier arrival in Cozumel. The entertainment on board was better than average with more american style shows and a bit less Italian opera than a year ago. The passengers seem to still be about 70% European. I want to mention the superb saxophone player who entertained by the rear garden pool bar in the afternoons and evenings. A very talented musician. Debarkation went fairly smoothly except they send almost everyone to a theater in the front of the ship which then makes for a long slow line to the one exit ramp they use. It would really help if they used the second ramp that seems to be available in Miami. Now for the shortcomings. First the food in the main ding room while slightly improved from last year was still disappointing on several evenings. The quality of the meat was very poor in the MDR multiple nights. It was cooked correctly to order but was just a poor quality cut. The exception was the prime rib which I thought was tender and perfectly seasoned. Chicken was generally better but the Chicken Cordon Blu was also very poor. We had very excellent service from our waiter and his assistant throughout the cruise. We went to the Eataly premium restaurant one night and had a very good meal. My son had the filet and said it was the very best he ever had. Hmmmm. A note: the phone reservation people were NOT manning the reservation phone during posted hours. Called numerous times with no answer and finally had to go to the Eataly when it opened to get a reservation. The buffet still needs some serious reworking! The layout of the food is just plain silly and a waste of the large space available. The most desirable items are all in the forward area of the buffet and the aft section seems to be just an afterthought. Pizza (very good) and burger type food is all in the forward area but no burgers are taken to the back area. Two salad bars in the forward area but none in the back. Only a bowl of salad in back with no dressings. At breakfast there are no trays of scrambled or sunny side up eggs anywhere but the forward area. There are custom omelet makers at all four areas this year and kudos they take your order and giver you a number so you don't wait in a 10 minute line. I got conflicting information each day about whether they could make custom scrambled eggs. Trays of sausage, bacon, fruit and bread in all areas but pre-made eggs only in forward section. Of course this leads to huge and unnecessary crowding at the forward end. OK, the one really BIG complaint that needs to be aired to the public is the "tipping". I don't know what the current state of affairs is on other lines but on MSC the "tipping" policy is no longer what people think. It came to light to some passengers that the daily "service charge" that is added to each persons on board account is no longer being distributed to the service crew as tips! This also is true for the 15% "service charge" that is being collected on each drink at the bars. Instead, the service crew (bartenders, cabin stewards, waiters and such) are being paid a regular salary just like the captain and hotel managers. As passengers we have always been led to believe that these "service charges" were necessary to make sure the service people were compensated as they are in restaurants and bars on land. If they are now going to be salaried employees then that money should be incorporated into the regular cruise fare and the "service charge" nonsense dropped.. MSC (or any other line that is now doing this) should stop the somewhat dishonest game they are playing with the fares. Having said that, I believe MSC is trying hard to build their brand and slowly learning what it takes to attract the american market to their ships. I look forward to seeing the new private island in Bimini later this year and how they will compete with the other big players in the future.

Great Itinerary! Beautiful clean ship, friendly crew, good service on fair food

MSC Divina Cruise Review by CruiserDave2019

2 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: January 2019
  • Destination: Western Caribbean
  • Cabin Type: Fantastica Interior Stateroom
First the good. This is the second time we have been on MSC Divina. She is a large vessel that is absolutely beautiful in design and appointments. She also seems to be extremely well maintained and is kept super clean and well painted. The carpets are clean, the glass and light fixtures are clean (something I notice) and the ship is well lit.

Embarkation for us was a big improvement this year for one BIG reason. We are "Black" card level repeat cruisers so we get priority embarkation. MSC finally realized that it does no good to offer priority check in only to then dump everyone in a big room while waiting to board. So now if you get priority check in you also get priority boarding as well. Are you listening other cruise lines? !!

The ship operation went very smoothly and the weather while windy for the first few days was mostly sunny. Port arrivals and departures were right on time. We did have to miss the port in Grand Cayman but the captain made every possible attempt to make it happen including parking the ship in the harbor while further assessing the forecast. A storm over the island made it just too rough for safe tender service so we had an extra day at sea and an earlier arrival in Cozumel.

The entertainment on board was better than average with more american style shows and a bit less Italian opera than a year ago. The passengers seem to still be about 70% European.

I want to mention the superb saxophone player who entertained by the rear garden pool bar in the afternoons and evenings. A very talented musician.

Debarkation went fairly smoothly except they send almost everyone to a theater in the front of the ship which then makes for a long slow line to the one exit ramp they use. It would really help if they used the second ramp that seems to be available in Miami.

Now for the shortcomings. First the food in the main ding room while slightly improved from last year was still disappointing on several evenings. The quality of the meat was very poor in the MDR multiple nights. It was cooked correctly to order but was just a poor quality cut. The exception was the prime rib which I thought was tender and perfectly seasoned. Chicken was generally better but the Chicken Cordon Blu was also very poor.

We had very excellent service from our waiter and his assistant throughout the cruise.

We went to the Eataly premium restaurant one night and had a very good meal. My son had the filet and said it was the very best he ever had. Hmmmm. A note: the phone reservation people were NOT manning the reservation phone during posted hours. Called numerous times with no answer and finally had to go to the Eataly when it opened to get a reservation.

The buffet still needs some serious reworking! The layout of the food is just plain silly and a waste of the large space available. The most desirable items are all in the forward area of the buffet and the aft section seems to be just an afterthought. Pizza (very good) and burger type food is all in the forward area but no burgers are taken to the back area. Two salad bars in the forward area but none in the back. Only a bowl of salad in back with no dressings. At breakfast there are no trays of scrambled or sunny side up eggs anywhere but the forward area. There are custom omelet makers at all four areas this year and kudos they take your order and giver you a number so you don't wait in a 10 minute line. I got conflicting information each day about whether they could make custom scrambled eggs. Trays of sausage, bacon, fruit and bread in all areas but pre-made eggs only in forward section. Of course this leads to huge and unnecessary crowding at the forward end.

OK, the one really BIG complaint that needs to be aired to the public is the "tipping". I don't know what the current state of affairs is on other lines but on MSC the "tipping" policy is no longer what people think. It came to light to some passengers that the daily "service charge" that is added to each persons on board account is no longer being distributed to the service crew as tips! This also is true for the 15% "service charge" that is being collected on each drink at the bars. Instead, the service crew (bartenders, cabin stewards, waiters and such) are being paid a regular salary just like the captain and hotel managers. As passengers we have always been led to believe that these "service charges" were necessary to make sure the service people were compensated as they are in restaurants and bars on land. If they are now going to be salaried employees then that money should be incorporated into the regular cruise fare and the "service charge" nonsense dropped.. MSC (or any other line that is now doing this) should stop the somewhat dishonest game they are playing with the fares.

Having said that, I believe MSC is trying hard to build their brand and slowly learning what it takes to attract the american market to their ships. I look forward to seeing the new private island in Bimini later this year and how they will compete with the other big players in the future.
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Cabin Review

Fantastica Interior Stateroom
Cabin I2
We had a interior handicapped cabin on deck 11 in the aft section. Cabin was very large and very suitable for wheelchair access. Beds are unusually firm and need some sort of pillow top or foam layer. This resulted in back aches in the morning. Room steward was only fair for this cruise which is very unusual in my experience. Several things were not replenished as needed including extra toilet paper, kleenex and hand soap. Also, bath towels were not replaced during the evening cleaning even though they were already on the bathroom floor. Our priority tender tickets showed up on our door at noon hours after we had sailed away from Grand Cayman
Cupido Deck Inside Cabins, Balcony Cabins

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