Jump to content
SteelCruisin

My "Finally getting around to it" Divina Review!

Recommended Posts

So in no small part due to laziness and the general business that the holiday season brings, I am just now getting around to writing my Divina review for her Thanksgiving week cruise to the eastern Caribbean. Just a FYI , my review will start early on in the process of deciding what cruise line to take then the planning and finally the actual cruise. I hope you enjoy...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

So I thought up the idea of doing a looooong review/diary that not only included our 1st MSC Cruise, but the entire time from researching to booking to sailing….. What follows is such, the ramblings of a madman!

 

Just a little background, we are experienced cruisers that have sailed on Premier (the Big Red Boat) NCL, Royal Caribbean, And Carnival. My parents who were also sailing with us have also sailed Princess and Celebrity. We have been going on a cruise every other year on Thanksgiving week since we moved to Ga. From N.J. It is the 1 week a year that I get to spend the entire week with my father and step mother and we love to cruise. We have 2 kids ,DS 19 and DD 15 we are in our late 40’s….ugh that was hard to type and the parentals are in their 60s, so we should be able to give you a really good consensus of what we liked or didn’t.

So we were unhappy with the way our T.A. of many years handled a problem on my parent’s last cruise, and decided that maybe it was time to shop for a new T.A. I had heard some good things about Cruise Compete and decided to give it a shot, we found a company that we liked that didn’t necessarily have the best price but was very service oriented and just felt right.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

April 10th – I sit at work 11 days after booking my first MSC cruise, after much research we decided to cruise the Divinas inaugural Caribbean cruise, when comparing the major lines we found that MSC had the best deal on balcony cabins. We booked 2 connecting balconies, cat 06, on the 13th deck ( Cupido) and 1 inside, cat 03, for the teens. Well 3 days after booking we get a call from our new T.A. who says there is a new promotion for $40 more pp we can get a $25 OBC and gratuities included, so for $80 more per cabin we received $193 in value, or $113 in savings….woot, way to go new T.A. my gut feeling is paying off. So every night I try to do the same, hit Cruise critic and try to dig up some info on the Divina, such as cabin pics, dailies, menus, and other things that I like to know b4 going. Well as anyone who has looked on this board can attest, info is at a premium.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

April 11th – Just read a review about an unhappy customer who was booked on the Poesia holistic cruise, I try to read through to see what the root cause of people’s complaints are and more often than not you will find that people fail to research basic info….how long a ship is in port…. This is basic info available to everyone, but it became a major source of irritation for this reviewer.

April 15th- Booked our pre and post cruise hotel…. Decided on the Marriot Residence Inn Miami Airport. We have 6 in our group and will be staying in a 2 bedroom suite; the airport shuttle runs from 5am which will help on our return flight …. It leaves at 6:30 am. For those of you who were wondering. There have been some new posts of late on CC which is encouraging; hopefully more questions will be answered. I have been struggling to find a picture of what a cat 6 balcony , with a chair instead of a couch, looks like … well I had one all along , it’s in the brochure MSC has for their Mediterranean cruises.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

May 22nd – Looks as if MSC has been getting better reviews, 9 out of the last 12 have been 4 stars or higher, I love reading others reviews but cannot for the life of me figure out how someone will rate everything 5 stars then give the overall rating a 1 because of an issue of not being able to use the covered pool! I have noticed lots of complaints in regards to queuing or lack thereof from different cultures, and I agree that in a civilized society we should all wait our turn…. That being said, I promise to seek these people out and jump in front of them even if I don’t want something that is in front of them, heck I may just make a game of it! Of course being a Caribbean cruise out of Miami, I am not sure how many different cultures will be aboard.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

June 14th – Just finished reading a review and it got me to thinking…. If our fellow brothers across the pond wonder “Why can’t North Americans live without iced water at mealtimes” I would ask, why does it seem that alcoholic beverages are such a large part of your holidays? It seems that every negative review I read has something to do with the cost of, or the poor service related to, alcohol or the bars in general. I loved following Skipper Tim’s post on the importance N.Americans find in h2o, and just have to say that what makes us different is what makes travel fascinating. My hope is that more people would embrace different cultures instead of attacking them. By the way the last 5 reviews posted have all been negative, not discouraged on my side , but I think MSC is getting a bum rap , only time will tell… 162 days till we sail, can’t wait!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

July 12th – Have found good reading in recent reviews, last 16 posted on Cruise Critic have all been positive. What I have termed a troll has recently made a presence on the MSC boards spouting off why MSC is garbage and even though they have never tried it they are an authority in cruising and promenade decks…. I don’t know what the purpose is telling someone how much they won’t like something they themselves haven’t tried, and even if they had tried MSC it would be presumptuous to think that the entire world should have the same tastes as you. It would be like me telling you that escargot is awful (I have tried, not impressed) and expecting you to agree without tasting. Better yet say every MSC, Carnival,NCL,RCCL, listened to you and left their favorite brand, for HAL and their proper promenade deck, do you think these people suddenly become the sophisticates that seem to find this line appealing? I think the complaint at that point would be why HAL doesn’t have a steerage class to rid these commoners to.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

July 30th- I just had to laugh at the last review I read, it was reviewing a cruise on the Orchestra, and some of the problems this passenger had bordered on the preposterous. The passenger said that “One child even rode his bike into a crowded lift!!!” Now maybe things are a bit different on Mediterranean cruises, but I have never seen a bike taken aboard any cruise I have been on in the Caribbean. Maybe I should bring one along to avoid taking taxis when we get to port. They also complained that “We went down to the pool and were only gone for 20 minutes, when we decided to go back I went up the steps first whilst my husband had a shower near the pool, when I got to our sun beds there were other people there arranging their towels and belongings and all our belongings had gone. We went down to the attendants who had given the towels out to find all our property including phones, watches, cameras, shoes and our towels had been thrown into a plastic sack.” And “we had to go inside down seven decks to the desk, barefoot and dripping water, me in my bikini and my husband in his trunks because everything had been taken, we did not even have a towel to dry ourselves with” My question is why didn’t you collect your belongings and go to the customer service desk. Again people complain that others are chair hogs, but when an attendant actually does remove something, they catch all the grief. Now the poster may have been gone 20 minutes and the attendant may have not had the soft skills required to handle the situation, but let’s not go on a killing spree because the situation wasn’t handled to your liking.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Aug.20th- It just struck me that some of my entries may be repetitive as I don’t go back and re-read everything I have made note of….oh well. It’s kind of like reading Cruise Critic, if you read long enough, everything is repeated… So I was reading some more reviews and they pretty much have become the same, some say MSC is great, others say not so much. I did read a review that I thought was kind of peculiar, in said review the reviewer stated that the” pool staff clearing decks very early , throwing people's belongings around the deck and then being aggressive with passengers who returned to their sun loungers and questioned why they had been removed.” Now maybe I am wrong but if this is in reference to chair hogs, I commend MSCs effort to keep the decks clear. Also, I have never felt that any cruise line should be held responsible for the behavior of children, if you have a problem with a child, seek out their parents… most will be happy to address bad behavior if you remain civil in handling the situation. I have to children myself and they have been on many cruises on many different lines, they know the expectations before we go and I have never come across some of the horror stories I read on these boards about children. Off the soap box…. 5 days till final payment is due….Nov, 23rd cannot get here soon enough. Oh btw, found out a few days ago that our cruise is now a baseball great’s theme cruise…. Looked it over with a friend, who is a baseball nut, he said a baseball great is a stretch… I just hope some of these guys have some good stories to tell.

 

 

Aug 28th- Final payment is done and we’re in the homestretch…87 days left, I have been looking at the itinerary and trying to figure out what we will be doing at each port, we’ve been to St Marten, and NCLs Private Island that MSC will be visiting before but we have never been to Puerto Rico. Think we’re going to go with the extreme relaxation plan and just hit the beach on the 2 re-visits and do a walking tour I found online for San Juan. I try not to make any hard plans as an Eastern cruise is just a tropical storm away from becoming a Western cruise. Rule #1 of cruising….. Never book a cruise for a specific port, and never make plans that will ruin your vacation if they fall apart. Book the ship not the destination.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Sept 20th – 64 days to go! Have decided to go it alone as far as excursions this trip! We are looking for something to do in Miami for the 1 extra day we will be there post cruise, thinking maybe the zoo or Miami Beach, whatever we decide it will not require advanced ticket purchases. More reviews continue to pour in to CC and for the most part they have all been positive, can’t wait to see for myself what MSC is all about! I also read in the roll call for this cruise that there will be a seminar on astrology and with any luck some nighttime viewings of the stars…. The person doing the lectures signed into the roll call…. I enjoy lectures while at sea and am glad to see that MSC does them.

 

Oct 19th – So I have been reading quite a bit on the boards trying to find out all I can about the Divina when I come across one poster asking another if they have run out of questions yet? I don’t know what it is about me but I am the same type of person …you know the guy who has to do all kind of research for an upcoming vacation, afraid I might miss something that would somehow ruin my vacation, while the rest of the family just sits back and waits patiently for the big day to arrive….I swear one day I will just book something and go…throwing caution to the wind, and let ever day be a surprise….but not today.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Nov.8th – I just realized that I never mentioned that one of my all time favorite reviewers of cruises, took her 1st MSC cruise and posted on her trip…..The Solo Fashionista Lara Lox , posts honest sincere fun reviews that don’t come at you with a loyalty to any particular cruise line but instead loyalty to her vacation $. Not sure if that makes any sense but I just wanted to say well done milady. We received E-Docs yesterday, time is flying bye and soon it will be time to go…. Was happy to see that everything on reservation was what I had asked for ….no surprises. I do want to thank those who post regularly on the MSC board, as you have been both fun and informative….you know who you are, I suppose that unless something out of the ordinary happens, this will be my last post till Miami, which will be a short hotel review of the Marriot Airport Residence Inn then on to the Divina!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Nov.22nd- okay , I know I said I wouldn’t make another entry till Miami, but I have to say that MSC did a great job bringing the Divina into Miami for the 1st time…..the mini Fiat personal watercraft were cool looking and the fireworks were pretty cool as well. I read a day 1 mini review and so far everything sounds as if it’s great! Posted pictures look awesome except for 1 thing….why is it when T.A.s do a cabin crawl and post pics it’s always of accessible staterooms? I think it to show larger staterooms in the same category….still no Cat 6 balcony pics, I guess I will see it when I board. Can’t wait to explore all that the Diva has to offer! Oh BTW…..1 more day!!!!!!!!!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

So now the review will come to a crawl because I will be writing it from the note I took along the way....as stated earlier we booked the Miami airport Marriot Residence Inn, first impressions were that the staff here was incredible..Nathalia who checked us in was incredibly friendly and you could tell that she loved her job, we were upgraded to a PURE room due to our Silver status with Marriot. With the exception of the chair in the livingroom showing some wear , we had no complaints and plenty of room for 6 people to spend a night.

Having arrived late and not having yet had supper, we decided to walk down the street and get some really good takeout at the Cuban Café diner 1000 . For those who want to know , at no time did we feel unsafe walking the approx. 1/4 mile to the restaurant, it was actually a nice walk on a nice evening. By the way the hot tub was kept at a nice temperature and the jets worked great.....next post the Divina!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Enjoying reading your novel diary leading up to your cruise. Looking forward to reading the rest.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

So I am currently uploading pictures to Photobucket and will post some along the way...may be awhile....now finally Divina Day!

 

We normally get to the port early 10:30am or so when we cruise so we can get on and get going, but being there was no info yet as to when the Divina will start boarding passengers , we decided to sleep inn. We left the hotel around 12:10 and arrived at the port at 12:30 we received card #10 and were told we would be boarding soon,,,,8 minutes later 12:38 the Diva started boarding 27 minutes after that at 1:05 card #10 was called and we were boarding our 1st MSC cruise....1st impressions....WOW she is beautiful, we were directed up to the buffet for lunch. Having read a tip in a review, we headed to the back and sat along the windows, not only is it less crowded back there, but it is also closer to the Ethnic corner which always had something yummy and exotic to eat. If you have kids you will find the kids corner back there as well. Everything we ate was delicious except for the 1st slice of pizza I had...it was horrible....now that being said I did a little investigating and tried the pizza at the pizza oven...my 1st slice came off the middle of the buffet....it was so good, probably the best we've had at sea.I also want to mention that the desserts were soooo good similar in quality to a good N.J. bakery cream puffs, eclairs , mooses...sp...just so many yummy desserts, again the best I have had at sea. We walked around the ship and found it strange that there was no live music playing anywhere...that would change later....but no music as we discovered one beautiful lounge after another.

 

More to come...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We were told that the cabins would be ready at 1:30 but unlike other lines...CCL for one... they don't make it so you can't stop by before then, it just seemed like the attitude was it's your ship, go where you want. Our Cat 06 balcony was plenty big enough for the 2 of us, I must admit I thought we'd be in something the size of a broom closet, but was pleasantly surprised when we opened the door. Just a FYI, I am a big guy, 6 ft tall 290 lbs, so when I say there is enough room you can get an idea of what I am saying. The balcony over hang on deck 13 had me a little worried, but in the long rung turns out to be a blessing as the few times we had rain we were able to stay out on our balcony while lower ones people had to go in or get wet. We heard very little noise from the buffet above us....it sounded more like the ship creaking than anything. All staff has greeted us with warm smiles and hello's or good mornings the entire cruise. Our room steward , Josianne, was incredible and she truly had ninja powers or a magic cloaking device, our 1st MSC cruise was a little more special because of her service. The bathroom setup really works with the fold in shower doors...I did stand in the middle of the shower with my palms on my chest to check the clearance around me and at no time did my extended elbows touch the walls....so...lotsa room in the showers, and since the doors fold in, it makes for more room when your using the head.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

A quick picture of the famous fold in shower doors....btw...they also fold out...http://i931.photobucket.com/albums/ad159/steelersn01/89b1e5cd-15e2-4e6f-afdd-3b77484edd51_zps47fcb62b.jpg?t=1388849304

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

**** Observation****

If you are a tea drinker, they had like 10 different types of hot tea bags available at the buffet, I am a coffee drinker, but I did try Twinnings Peach Tea at lunch and it was very good!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Again I want to apologize if I am kind of all over the place with this review, I didn't realize how many pages of hand written notes I made and of course I put them in the order that they happened and not under any sort of grouping so if you get a headache reading this , just send me the bill for the asperin..... now on with the show....

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Steel.

 

Loving your style of review.

 

It's more like a live blog this way. I won't be needing any aspirin.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This is like watching a cricket match in slow motion.

 

And yet I am hooked for the unpredictable, unknown next short story in the series

 

Very entertaining and interesting.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You are not suppose to mention by name any cruise booking agencies.It is against CruiseCritic rules. They can give you a 'ding' for that.......I did the same thing by mistake years ago & got a 'ding'. I think if you get 3, you are banned from Cruisecritc.

Sorry you had gotten one not to your liking before. that can really ruin your cruise experience.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks Shippy for the heads up , gonna see if I can edit that post, but being it wasn't naming a booking agency but more a price aggregator I didn't think I was breaking any rules...still don't want to get on the bad side of the mods...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank you very much for your review so far, very interesting to read. Thanks for the photo of the category 6 balcony cabin, first time I have seen that :) Compared to other balcony cabins the category 6 miss the sofa and the small table as far as I can see.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Your review is great. It's interesting to read and provides a lot of helpful information. Can't wait to read the rest. (I will be sailing on Divinia next month so I'm taking lots of notes.)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

"Please, sir, can I have some more." I'm enjoying your review "shorts". Keep them coming :D Thanks for taking the time to post your thoughts, experience and photos. (Hopefully you'll finish before I sail aboard her in February. :p)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We were excited about dining aboard MSC although we did hear mixed reviews in regards to quality, we enjoy a longer dinner, so being that there were multiple courses that were served over 2+ hours, it didn't bother us.The 1st nights menu was as follows:

http://i931.photobucket.com/albums/ad159/steelersn01/IMG_20131123_175322_761_zps8f5d7b53.jpg

I had the shrimp cocktail (largest shrimp I have ever seen served on a ship)

the Zucchini Mille Feuille Au Gratin, San Marzano Tomato Soup, Fettuchini Alfredo and for my entrée the Blackened Lime Flounder. Now this might sound weird or contrary to what you have heard but everything was exceptional except the pasta....we found the Alfredo o taste nothing more than cream sauce, we wrote it off as a mistake in the kitchen and did not complain.

Blackened Lime Flounder:http://i931.photobucket.com/albums/ad159/steelersn01/dfa996eb-c766-466d-9172-6c66cdb34e84_zpse4a23173.jpg?t=1388890650

Stuffed Portobella Mushroom:http://i931.photobucket.com/albums/ad159/steelersn01/IMG_20131124_182006_764_zpsb8ce6094.jpg

Zucchini Mille Feuille Au Gratin:http://i931.photobucket.com/albums/ad159/steelersn01/IMG_20131123_183443_372_zpse8cdd934.jpg

The desserts were SOOOOO Good , we left dinner completely satisfied and looking forward to the new dining choices the rest of the week. We walked around the ship and enjoyed the LIVE MUSIC being played in all the lounges, we so missed live music on some of our past cruises and found there to be an abundance on MSC.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Just wanted to say thanks for all the nice comments, and also wanted to cuss out photobucket for taking so long to upload photos....that being said since I am at the end of day one in my notes , I am gonna call it an end for today for me...tomorrow I will let you know my experience in the dining room for breakfast,I will take on some complaints that other reviewers had head to head, and have some ****Observations**** good night all !

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Just wanted to say thanks for all the nice comments, and also wanted to cuss out photobucket for taking so long to upload photos....that being said since I am at the end of day one in my notes , I am gonna call it an end for today for me...tomorrow I will let you know my experience in the dining room for breakfast,I will take on some complaints that other reviewers had head to head, and have some ****Observations**** good night all !

 

 

! WOW ! your review is GREAT, I feel like I'm with you on the boat ;)

 

I am sailing on Divina next Saturday!!!!! and can't wait to get out of my -15 degree weather here in Wisconsin! With much of the Divina reviews being all over the place, I have been reading all the info I can get...

 

When we get off the boat on the 18th we have until 9pm before our flight leaves, any ideas on what we could do around that area? I was thinking of just renting a car and driving around all day, but who knows...

Edited by MR. MATT

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Miami has a great and well priced zoo but its a bit of a drive from the port. South Beach during the day is a cool drive and area to look around, shop and eat. Miami has a more expensive Marine Sea life park on Virginia key not far from the port.

 

Great cuban and latin food abounds.

 

Plenty of beaches.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for the pictures. I've been interested in the main dining room menus. We sail on a theme cruise in April. If you have pictures of the menus themselves, I'd appreciate it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

So I have uploaded some pics ....it takes awhile... and am ready to start up again, so hear we go.....

 

 

We watched the 1st nights show which was called The wiches of Paris, all I could think was why would they put their best show the first night, that is how good it was ...and then found out that the shows get better....we went to bed after a long day in one of the most comfortable beds we have ever had on a ship, and we weren't even a little disappointed that there were no towel animals or chocolates to be found. We woke up after a sound night sleep and headed to the buffet....I think everyone know by now to "Head to the BACK" this is where it will be less crowded and in my opinion you will have better views.

http://i931.photobucket.com/albums/ad159/steelersn01/IMG_20131123_131558_071_zps2edb5a29.jpg

We always seemed to find the 2nd table from the bottom available, which was great for us.

Now a quick correction on another reviewer who stated that there are only 3 drink stations, there are actually 6.... 3 per side, and if you pay attention to where you sit, you will find easy access to them. Breakfast was standard fare, with a few things I have never seen such as over easy eggs served in a casserole dish, they were medium cooked and I found if you took one of the fresh baked rolls and a couple of strips of bacon you could make a very good sandwich,,,yum! Oh BTW....no bacon policia to be found. Of note, the buffet gets real crowded between 9:30 and 10 so plan accordingly.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

After breakfast I wanted to try to de-bunk any MSC myths that I read ,or see If I could confirm....kinda like looking for Bigfoot or The Lochness Monster , I need to see if I could get photographic evidence of these myths.

I remember reading a review where someone had stated that you couldn't tell the difference between the mens and womens rooms because the signs look too similar ...you be the judge..

http://i931.photobucket.com/albums/ad159/steelersn01/Ladiesroom_zpse8ed1956.jpg

http://i931.photobucket.com/albums/ad159/steelersn01/Mensroom_zps2c66f51c.jpg

now the funny thing is , that while I was taking this picture, one of the cleaning crew was nearby and I had to explain exactly why I was taking a picture of not 1 but 2 bathroom doors....oh the adventurous life of a mythbuster.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Forum Jump
    • Categories
      • Explore the Night. Sweepstakes - Enter now for a chance to win win a free cruise for two with Azamara Club Cruises!
      • Forum Assistance
      • New Cruisers
      • Cruise Lines “A – O”
      • Cruise Lines “P – Z”
      • River Cruising
      • ROLL CALLS
      • Digital Photography & Cruise Technology
      • Member Cruise Reviews
      • Community Contests
      • Special Interest Cruising
      • Cruise Discussion Topics
      • UK Cruising
      • Australia & New Zealand Cruisers
      • North American Homeports
      • Ports of Call
      • Cruise Conversations
×