MSD Divina 12/20-12/30
Fantastica balcony stateroom with drinks on us promotion, upgraded to all inclusive deluxe. 2 adults and one child
First time MSC cruiser
Overall impression: This was a great cruise! There were a few bumps, but nothing significant enough to impact my overall feeling of the cruise. As first time MSC cruisers, we learned a lot of lessons about the experience that we will hopefully apply in the future.
Embarkation: This was my first time cruising out of Miami. We drove to the port and found the luggage drop off and parking to be very organized and easy. We arrived about 1:00/1:30. Almost no wait for check-in at MSC desk and as we walked onto the ship, they announced all cabins were ready. We took our things directly to our cabin which was almost ready but our steward was still brining in a few items.
Room: 11261, our room was very clean and felt larger than we anticipated. The bathroom and shower were small, but that was what we expected. The beds were kind of hard but not terrible and the pillows were ok. The sofa pulled out into a bed that was comfortable for our 8 year old, but I slept on it one night and wouldn’t recommend an adult size person sleep there. We had enough storage space for all our clothes and items.
MDR: Black Crab, late seating if 8:30pm. The dining room is beautiful! Typical to our previous cruise experience, cruise staff don’t quite know what to do with a table for 3. We were not seated with others, and instead were squeezed into a table for 2... whoever sat at the outside table was constantly run into by the waitstaff because the chair was in the way. The food and waitstaff in the MDR were great! Unfortunately we only at there a few times though. Choosing late dining tuned out to be a bad choice on our part. 6:00 seemed to early for us as most of our port days were long and we don’t like to eat early...but by 8:30 dining we didn’t get any food until well after 9:00pm and the whole process took too long and we were tired. We will make a different choice next time. Also, we only planned to participate in one formal night and there were 3. I’ll go over the Christmas experience below, but we were impressed to see steak and lobster on the menu for Christmas Eve, that was a nice touch. We ate breakfast in MDR one time and I wouldn’t recommend it.
Buffet: I thought the buffet was great! It’s huge and, yes, some items were repetitive but there were so many choices that didn’t bother me. The full buffet was only open during breakfast and lunch and a smaller section was open for dinner. The “kids corner” is only open to everyone during lunch. At dinner, “kids corner” was only open for children dining with the kids club staff. The breads, pastries, and desserts were all fantastic! I was impressed by the selection of fruits and vegetables and all of the grilled items on the buffet. Much better quality than Carnival where almost everything was fried or reminded me of school cafeteria food.
Galaxy Sushi: We didn’t get the pre-set menu. We ordered a few rolls, maguro, and some temaki. Everything was very fresh and well prepared. We did find the sushi to be a little bland, there are no spicy choices. I asked for siracha and they didn’t have any but the waiter made us up some spicy sauce and it was delicious. I’d eat there again but it wasn’t the best sushi experience of my life...kind of reminded me of good grocery store sushi. They do not have a children’s menu so we took our son to get pizza first and he ate ice cream from the dessert menu while we ate sushi. The staff had no problems with us brining him along and they even made him a special drink.
Eataly: Best meal of the week! The wine and food were fantastic we ordered al-a-cart there also. The preset meal would have been a better value here. We also ate at the pizza area outside Eataly and that was great.
Gelato: So. Good.
Room service: I was impressed that the room service came with a nice tray and dishes...not plastic. It was a quality presentation. We ordered the breakfast a few times. Coffee was very good. Two frustrations- 1) the deluxe package we purchased said room service food was included. However, “American breakfast” was a $7.95 charge. There were no exceptions listed on the deluxe package and this was also not explained on the menu itself. MSC needs to more properly explain what is and isn’t included. 2) One day we ordered breakfast to be delivered between 8:00-8:30, someone showed up at 6:00am to deliver breakfast that turned out to not even be ours. We called and let them know..then they woke us up again 45 minutes later to take it back. Our actual order showed up at 8:45 and it wasn’t all there. We had to call them again and got our food about 20 minutes later. Also we ordered milk for cereal and got a giant pot of hot milk which was so weird.
We had great service and tasty drinks at all of the bars. One thing I wasn’t expecting is the table service at all of the bar/lounge areas. I was impressed by the quality of the wines and liquors served. Even the rail drinks were quality brands. The wine choices for our package were fantastic! I love the abundance of espresso machines all over the ship.
I thought the staff across the ship provided great service and were very friendly. There were very few exceptions. Everyone we passed said hello or have a nice day. Being Christmas week, they offered a “merry Christmas” for the first half of the week. Drink and food servers and bartenders were so accommodating, polite, and happy to make conversation. We felt pampered all week.
Unfortunately the one major exception to the exceptional service onboard was our room attendant. He did an ok job of keeping our room clean so I can’t complain about that. But, any time we asked him for something his answer was “no” or “go ask reception”. We aren’t high maintenance people but he was just not pleasant. We asked for 2 extra pillows, “no, it’s not possible”, we eventually got some 3 days later. Extra towels, “no it’s not possible” ...never got those. He only brought us 4 luggage tags at the end of the cruise and said we couldn’t get more. Our biggest issue with him was the first 4 days of the trip. He had us listed as drinks on us package and we let him know we had Deluxe and the mini bar was included. I anticipated there would be an issue somewhere with the drinks package as they had all just changed to the new packages but we had the old package. This guy refused to believe us and at first wouldn’t refill the minibar. He came back 2-3 times per day to tell us the minibar wasn’t included. I went to reception every day to make sure and to ask them to please make sure our room attendant understood. The final straw, where I lost my patience a bit, was when he came to our room and said we could not drink anything from the minibar for 24 hours because we have the wrong code. He explained something to us about a housekeeping meeting and he doesn’t know what is included and I was like ok well WE KNOW what is included....just keep filling it up and we will deal with reception if there is an issue. And he just kept coming back and saying stop taking things out of the mini bar for 24 hours. I went to reception AGAIN about the stupid minibar and spoke with a supervisor. He never said anything to us about it again. But we only got refilled exactly what we took out. We didn’t want like 80% of the stuff in there, just water and sodas and a few beers....I asked for the other stuff to be removed and he never took it out. The whole thing was just very annoying.
We aren’t really joiners of organized activities. We did a few things and they were well organized and entertaining. The pools were very nice...large for cruise ship pools! The water slide was great for kids, but not enough pressure get an adult through haha I’m an average size person and I had to push myself most of the way down. We got the fun pass and our son enjoyed the bowling all week and the 4d theater a few times. The F1 simulator is not for kids, we didn’t realize that in advance. The arcade is split into 2 small areas, our kid was disappointed by the selection but it saved me money so I’m not sad haha.
The biggest negative thing about our cruise was the kids club. The activities and space looked really fun and geared to kids 3-6 and the teen areas looked fun and successful (we hardly every saw packs of unruly teens running around). They really missed the mark for 7-11 year olds though. The few times my son (8) went he did not have a good time. The activities were not organized and every time they combined the older kids with the 3-6 group. ...i can’t think of many 7-11 year olds who want to hang out with 3 year olds. By midweek there were hardly any kids his age group going. We’d walk up there and check out the activities and he’d say he didn’t want to stay. He was really disappointed. And, honestly, we were disappointed because we were not able to have any “date nights” or afternoons at the adult pool. We would like to sail MSC again so we will give seaside a chance, but we will not sail the Divina again as a family until our son is a little older. He did meet several children at the pool and in the sports bar at the bowling.
This was our first Christmas cruise and I wasn’t sure what to expect. It was fantastic! The ship was beautifully decorated and the Christmas activities were lovely. The midnight buffet on Christmas Eve was AMAZING! I got some videos of the dessert side. It was far more than I expected. The Christmas Day activities were very nice. There was a program in the theater with a video and “Santa” gave a gift to each child. They did Christmas very well and I wouldn’t hesitate to go on MSC for Christmas again.
Overall, I thought the ship was beautiful! Everything was very clean and fresh looking. I never entered a public area bathroom that wasn’t clean. They were really on top of picking up glasses and dishes left out in public areas. The public areas of the ship never seemed crowded except in the buffet. Since it was a full ship, I expected everything to be congested and it wasn’t. The lounge areas are all beautiful and provide so many places to meet with friends and family. We saw many large groups on the ship and it didn’t seem like they ever struggled to find somewhere to sit together. The attention to small details on this ship really won me over. I would love to go on Divina again some day.
congratulations if you made it all the way through my crazy review. I’m sure I left something out though.