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Trying to compare Norweigan Jade and MSC Divina for a possible cruise June 22nd.
So far here are my thoughts, any input that can help me make a decision?
MSC Divina has only set time dining and buffet, gorgeous, a little more formal I think with regards to clothing, new ship and very international passenger set. Any chance lots of British kids on board or they not out of school yet? Limited hours in ports and not sure why? Food gets mixed reviews and no free water so fator that into the cost. I think also no free room service.
NCL Jade- older ship, more geared toward North Americans so more English spoken, but not sure if that is the case considering the location, food doesn't get great reviews, but compared to MSC not sure which is better, anytime dining and very casual clothing like jeans are allowed. longer times in port. I went on this ship before the remodel on a cruise to Hawaii and it was nice then, but very tropical looking, not sure what it would look like in the Med.
Can anyone compare the kids club facilities? Compare the food or the feel? For our family of 4 the base price is almost the same, so just trying to figure out more info to decide!
But as far as kids are concerned you may find more Italian children since elementary schools finish mid- June in Italy.
The Jade and its crew are lovely.
I must go down to the sea again, ... and all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by. -John Masefield
Ncl Jade 7-7-2012, 3-27-2013, 8-31-2013
Costa Favolosa 7-8-2013
Ncl Spirit 6-11-2014
It's more of a cultural difference between the two.
MSC (we were on the Splendida, not Divina)--food was great, many varieties in the MDR. More Italian passengers who might act differently than what you are used to. US passengers will get water vouchers for dinner. 1 coupon book per cabin, not enough but we made it work for us. Just have to prepare for the cultural difference and you will be fine. Excellent itineraries and good price for cruising. Service was good but it was difficult to find someone responsible at a higher level when there's a problem.
NCL Jade--food in MDR had declined. No more escargot or creme brulee, or come to think of it, shrimp cocktail. Maybe because we were in the suite this time so it didn't bother us that much. We had breakfast and lunch at Cagney's. More casual and relax on NCL. I felt more "at home" on the Jade.
My brother asked me if I would ever sail MSC again, my answer was "If the itinerary is interesting and the price is right."
I have pictures of both cruises if you want to look for them in my signature.
A friend of ours did the MSC line in the Mediterranean a few years ago and said it was a big mistake. 90% of the passengers were Italian, French and German so the cultural differences were a problem as was finding crew members who spoke English. They choose MSC as they thought the food would be more European and better than on the RCI cruise there were considering. They thought the food was bland and mediocre. The other problem was smoking was allowed almost everywhere on the ship and our friends are non smokers.
Gold Star Cruises 1994 on Star of Texas the former Mardi Gras, Carnival's first cruise ship. She was a true rust bucket
CCL Fascination 1998
Cruise West Spirit of Endeavour 1999
RCCL Rhapsody of the Seas 2000
Celebrity Century 2008
HAL Volendam 2002 & 2003, Oosterdam 2005 & 2007 Westerdam 2006 & 2010. Nieuw Amsterdam 2011
We sailed NCL twice early on, then decided to try MSC. WOW what a dissapointment. We had vacationed in Italy years earlier and the thought of a international mix of passengers, Italian dining, exotic places, not to mention a really good rate for a 17 night transatlantic cruise caused us to book MSC. We were wrong! In our opinion the food sucked, the buffet looked like the cold cut section at a local deli with a few cold pastas thrown in, main dining meals were uninspired, slowly served and never at the proper temperature. Due to the languages involved shows were mostly exhibitions or musicals, except that you had to endure approx 10 minutes before each one for the CD to make his introductions and announcements in 5 languages (which, by the way was the same for all shipwide announcements). The REAL burner for us however was the total disregard for the passengers concerns about anything. We are not high maintenance or complainers, but when you approached the service desk with a problem you were for the most part greeted with a blank stare, and not because they didn't understand but because they didn't care. I have followed the reviews occasionally since then and I still see these same opinions being voiced.
The only thing we got from the MSC cruise that we cherish is the fact that we were able to see some wonderful places. MSC is a shipping company, and that what we felt like we were, just cargo being moved from one lovely port to another. If you have a choice of seeing the same ports with NCL or another cruise line my suggestion would be to choose someone else. We are returning to cruise Europe this summer and NEVER ONCE even looked at what MSC was offering. We have sailed multiple times on NCL, Princess and Carnival and have had a great time on all of them, but once was more than enough with MSC!!!