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RikerKirk

DIVINA REVIEW 4/26 - 5/3 West Caribbean

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My first two cruises I told myself I would write a review but I never did! This time, the third time really is the charm.

 

Some background.

 

This is my partner and my 3rd cruise. We previously sailed on the Celebrity Silhouette and Celebrity Constellation. Obviously, its our first cruise on MSC. We live in southwest Florida so we can drive over to the port. We are in our 40s and early 50s.

 

MSC caught my eye because of the beauty of the ship and the pricing. It was significantly less expensive than other cruise lines. While on celebrity, we availed ourselves of the included drink package. On this cruise on Divina I prepaid for vouchers.

 

This itinerary had 4 stops, Cozumel, Cayman Islands, Falmouth and the private island they borrow from NCL, Great Stirrup Cay.

 

I am going to do this as a rating system for each major department, with comments when they apply.

 

 

EMBARKATION:

 

First, I want to mention when we sailed Celebrity out of Fort Lauderdale we used ParknGo.

 

This cruise was out of Miami so we used Premier Parking as ParknGo was not available. While ParknGo I would rate as an A+++ for quality of service and speed, Premier Parking earns an F. What a cluster@$#%. Incredibly long wait first to just pull in the lot, then another long wait standing outside the building in the sun, then a third long wait for one of only 3 shuttle buses then have. Took nearly 3 hours from time I pulled up to the lot to the time I arrived at the terminal. An unmitigated disaster. Next time I will spend the extra money and park at the port.

 

That aside, the MSC embarkation procedure was smooth. Although, I probably missed the initial crowd due to arriving after 1 pm to the terminal. Was a very quick check in, had our picture taken right at the check in station and we were able to board the ship. The check in person was friendly and helpful. Unlike Celebrity, there was no welcome champagne or mimosa. There was also somewhat of a lack of greeters on the ship as your boarded to guide you. Neither of those issues was a big deal to me. The lifeboat drill went without incident and was over fairly quickly. The one downside is how long we had to wait for our luggage, it did not arrive till almost 5:30, which seems like too long of a wait when we needed the clothes for a 6 pm dinner seating.

 

RATING - B-

 

 

FOOD

 

Going to divide this into 2 separate ratings.

 

BUFFET

 

We ate at the buffet for all of our breakfast meals and a few lunches (we ate in the dining room twice for lunch and one lunch on the private island). We also had 1 dinner here on the first day as we had such a late lunch due to arriving late and did not have dinner clothing on time as well.

 

Great breakfast selection. They had scrambled and fried eggs, bacon and sausage, pancakes, waffles and french toast. A big plus for me was they had sugar free syrup available. All sorts of fruit, yogurt, pastries, bagels and muffins. Lots of other selections that I did not get around to trying. Also, fruit juices and coffee were available at multiple self serve beverage stations. Several pre-made omelets but no omelet station. Many waiters if your wanted to order drinks and who were very fast clearing away empty tables. Could be

crowded but we always found a seat without too much trouble. Quality of food was overall very good.

 

Lunch selection equally good. Pre-made sandwiches, some very tasty, plus hamburgers, hot dogs and fries ready to go. Lots of hot dishes, including some ethnic dishes. Pasta and pizza. One or two carved meats. Good selection of desserts, some of which were very good. Some juices and ice tea available from dispensers. We ate here for lunch twice. A

lot of people rave about the pizza but I found it to be just ok. It did not have nearly enough cheese but it had a nice flavor. The pasta I found surprisingly to be a disappointment. It typically was bland and uninspired.

 

The one dinner we had here was very poor. They close 3/4 of the buffet for dinner. Very few selections and some of the heated food was cold. Also, the only drinks in the dispenser for dinner were ice tea and water.

 

BUFFET RATING - B

 

 

MAIN DINING ROOM

 

One big concern I had coming from Celebrity was a lack of my time dining. Meaning that only traditional seating is available on Divina at 6 pm or at 8:45. Well 8:45 was way too late for us to eat so I opted for the 6 pm seating. I met with the maitre d once I boarded the ship and I requested a table for 2. I know some people love to meet and make new friends but my GF and I have no interest in that. After being told that everyone wanted a table for 2 and

there were just not enough tables for everyone, a 20 dollar bill appeared from my wallet and suddenly a table became available! We were in the Villa Rosa dining room in the aft part of the ship. Glad I switched because our original table was a table for 8 which would have meant a lot of small talk which I was happy to avoid.

 

Service was fantastic. Our waiter and his assistants did everything to making sure our meals were memorable. Like having my ice tea ready every night after ordering it the first night. Or by bringing my GF chocolate gelato when it was not on the menu and she did not like any of the normal options. I can not say enough about how great Mika and his team were.

 

The food..... I will start by saying I tried almost everything. I typically would have both appetizers and both pasta dishes on a given night. I usually ordered both dessert choices.

 

It was hit or miss. Let me highlight the good, the so so, and the bad.

 

GOOD

All of the cold soups were great. There was a pumpkin pear soup I really enjoyed but they all were well above average.

 

The lobster and beef filet on the 2nd Gala night were excellent. In fact, its the only piece of red meat I ordered that was good. Lobster was moist and tasty.

 

Some of the desserts, Gelato was very good, as well as the mocha cream cake and the chocolate torte.

 

The lunches. The 2 times we went were lunch exceeded expectations. Tasty sandwiches, sides and desserts.

 

SO SO

Most of the main proteins were just ok. I had the lamb, chicken and pork and none were particularly memorable.

 

The hot soups were just ok. Not a lot of flavor.

 

The rest of the desserts.

 

The pasta dishes. Again, just like my thoughts of the buffet pasta, none were very tasty and some of them were not cooked properly.

 

The appetizers, I cant remember a single one that I would have ordered a second time.

 

BAD

The prime rib and steaks. Its a shame because of I love red meat! The prime rib was super fatty, and the steaks were a disaster. They were super thin, tough and fatty. Like the quality of a chuck steak from the grocery store.

 

The "side" dishes. The vegetables and the potatoes with the protein were usually left on the plate as they were pretty awful. The mashed potatoes were like a hard cone of plastic.

 

The tiramisu. I think they bought these and froze them, because on my plate if you pushed down with your fork on one, it would leak about a half a cup of water out of it. What a shame.

 

RATING - B-

 

Would have been a C except for the terrific service brought it up. Also the quality of the lunches surprised me and also brought the score up.

 

 

ENTERTAINMENT

 

Unbelievable!

 

MSC rules in this area. We went to every show except the opening night intro show and liked or loved them all.

 

LOVED the Italian song show, the acrobat show, the french variety show, the opera and the opera tribute shows.

 

LIKED the comedy show, the Michael Jackson tribute and the pirate show.

 

Plenty of seats in the comfy theater. Only downside is no drinks in the theater. Since the shows are not that long this is not a very big deal.

 

Also included is the great entertainment elsewhere. Great string quartet every night in the atrium. Latin band in the black and white lounge. Elton John impersonator, dueling pianos and more.

 

Slight disappointment with the Galaxy Club for dancing as its layout is very funky and does not fit very many on the dance floor.

 

RATING - A+

 

 

DRINKS AND DRINK SERVICE

 

Let me preface this by saying that on my last Celebrity cruise, I ordered a "French Caribbean" 4 times and got 4 completely different drinks.

 

On the Divina, the drinks were tasty and consistently made. I had a variety of coladas, top 12 drinks, mixed drinks etc and all were very prepared. My GF loved the blue Hawaiians.

 

Service was very prompt at all the bars and lounges we went to. I read about slow service at the pool but since we were never there, I cant comment on that.

 

With the pre-paid vouchers I paid 4.80 per drink which included gratuity.

 

RATING - B+

 

 

EXCURSIONS

 

This is not a rating of my excursions but a rating of how easy it was to get on and off the ship and also a rating of the private island Great Stirrup Cay.

 

Tendering at the Cayman Islands and Great Stirrup Cay was awful. I mean really awful. Too few tenders, long long lines, lots of confusion. The system they had to grab tickets probably works well if they were enough vessels to do the tendering.

 

Great Stirrup Cay is a nice little island, but its way overcrowded for as many people as were on the Divina. The buffet lunch had very long lines. Limited places to sit. We had to walk over quarter of a mile just to find some chairs. It would be a great spot for like half as many people.

 

No wait to walk off the ship in Jamaica or Cozumel.

 

RATING - D-

 

 

DEBARKATION

 

I actually don't want to relive this, so just a few comments.

 

We signed up for self disembark. 2 Issues. MSC does not send out copies of your bill till that morning, so there are hundreds of people waiting at guest services to fix mistakes. That makes this part of the ship IMPASSABLE. Also, the designated wait areas require you to move luggage down very narrow corridors to get there and you end up moving against other people moving their luggage the opposite direction.

 

RATING - F

 

 

SERVICE

 

I already commented on how great our MDR wait team was. I also had very good service from waiters and was always greeted with a smile from people I walked by in the corridors.One negative was our room steward. He would clean the room twice a day but there were always issues. Like no pillowcases on our pillows, or no bath mat, or no towels. Or when we had no toilet paper. A call to guest services would rectify this, but should that really be needed?

 

I was able to get distilled water from the medical center at no charge, and was able to borrow 2 travel adapters from guest services for a deposit which was returned.

 

RATING - B-

 

Would have been an A if not for the room issues.

 

 

 

OVERALL RATING - B-

 

Would I sail MSC again? Yes. Overall was a pleasurable vacation with a few hiccups.

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Thanks for the review, i had a steak in the MDR and thought it was very good and perfectly cooked.

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We were in the Yacht Club and the steaks in Le Muse were outstanding.

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.

 

Yes, thanks for the excellent review. We are sailing the Divina late august and cannot wait

 

 

One question though. We are vegetarians, but we do eat certain seafood's. Did you try any of the seas food dishes in the NDR each night?

 

Cheers

 

Len

Edited by Giantfan13

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.

 

Yes, thanks for the excellent review. We are sailing the Divina late august and cannot wait

 

 

One question though. We are vegetarians, but we do eat certain seafood's. Did you try any of the seas food dishes in the NDR each night?

 

Cheers

 

Len

 

I had scallops for an appetizer one night, which consisted of 2 small scallops on risotto. The dish was good, not great.

 

My GF had fish one night, which I tasted. It was unremarkable.

 

I found the lobster good, I was expecting it to be tough, but it was pretty moist and I enjoyed it.

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Thank you for your review. Your rating for embarkation and debarkation is off to me on how you rated them. As you have only been on a couple of cruises this is the norm for luggage. You arrived after 1 and got your luggage before dinner that's pretty darn good. It looks like you lumped your parking score into this and it has nothing to do with MSC. From your comments are more of an A-. Not all cruise lines give champagne as you enter. As for leaving this is norm too. Your bill always delivered on the last day. You could have checked on the tv or gone down prior to get a copy of your bill. I been in huge lines on celebrity and rccl doe self debark, it was no different on my Divina cruise always a lil crazy. My comments are more pointers as this into years of cruising is the same as you experienced.

 

Still a great review.

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ENTERTAINMENT

 

Unbelievable!

 

MSC rules in this area. We went to every show except the opening night intro show and liked or loved them all.

 

LOVED the Italian song show, the acrobat show, the french variety show, the opera and the opera tribute shows.

 

LIKED the comedy show, the Michael Jackson tribute and the pirate show.

 

Plenty of seats in the comfy theater. Only downside is no drinks in the theater. Since the shows are not that long this is not a very big deal.

 

Also included is the great entertainment elsewhere. Great string quartet every night in the atrium. Latin band in the black and white lounge. Elton John impersonator, dueling pianos and more.

 

Slight disappointment with the Galaxy Club for dancing as its layout is very funky and does not fit very many on the dance floor.

 

RATING - A+

.

I dont understand all the love for the entertainment on the Divina. Did anyone else think the shows became repetitive? It was the same performers essentially doing the same acts with different costumes on. I did enjoy the comedy show. But imo the entertainment was average at best, but then again I never really saw any shows on previous cruises as I was younger, so I have no point of reference.

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I dont understand all the love for the entertainment on the Divina. Did anyone else think the shows became repetitive? It was the same performers essentially doing the same acts with different costumes on. I did enjoy the comedy show. But imo the entertainment was average at best, but then again I never really saw any shows on previous cruises as I was younger, so I have no point of reference.

 

 

I think the enjoyment would depend a lot on whether you enjoy the singing. There were 3 fantastic shows that were all singing, mostly opera. If you do not like opera, I could see how the shows would leave you a bit cold.

 

I would agree that some of the acrobat and tumbling routines did have some repetition.

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I am going to piggy back off of your outline and give my review:

 

 

EMBARKATION:

 

I arrived at 4 PM and the process was extremely smooth, probably took around 30 minutes, which is quicker than any cruise I have been on. This could be do to the fact that the ship is docked until 8 PM.

 

A-

 

FOOD

 

Going to divide this into 2 separate ratings.

 

BUFFET

 

The buffet was nothing special, on par with Carnival and Norwegian.

 

BUFFET RATING - B

 

 

MAIN DINING ROOM

 

Service wasnt great, the waiters barely spoke English and were not as attentive as previous cruises. The main courses were good while the side dishes were lacking, still I really enjoyed the food and the servers were pleasnt.

 

RATING - B+

 

 

ENTERTAINMENT

 

As I stated before, the acts felt repetitive after the first show. The singers were average at best.

 

RATING - C+

 

 

DRINKS AND DRINK SERVICE

 

The drinks were on par with any other cruise line. The bartenders were hit or miss depending on which bar you went to, MSC is probably the only cruise line which doesnt walk around "pushing" drinks on you, which is refreshing for a change.

 

RATING - C+

 

 

EXCURSIONS

 

N/A - I did not partake in any excursions so I cannot rate.

 

RATING - --

 

 

DEBARKATION

 

I also self disembarked and while it was hectic it didnt feel any different from any other cruise line.

 

RATING - B

 

 

SERVICE

 

Ive mentioned service in the past, this is where MSC is lacking the most and why they most likely wont be cruising out of North America until they find a solution.

 

RATING - D

 

SHIP APPEARANCE

 

You didnt add this category but I wanted to discuss it because the ship was so beautiful, the decor is very tastefully done. Appearance wise it rivals ANY SHIP out there.

 

A+

 

 

OVERALL RATING - C+

 

Would I sail MSC again? For the price YES, if I had the option of sailing Carnival or Norweigian for the same price I would chose either of those before MSC.

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I think the enjoyment would depend a lot on whether you enjoy the singing. There were 3 fantastic shows that were all singing, mostly opera. If you do not like opera, I could see how the shows would leave you a bit cold.

 

I would agree that some of the acrobat and tumbling routines did have some repetition.

Yeah I think you are spot on, I just wrote a review and discussed the singing. I didnt think the female singer was good at all, however, the male was pretty good. I did not catch the Opera show so I cant comment on that.

Edited by cruiselover87

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Do they have regular 110 -US outlets in the rooms? We leave soon and this would be helpful to know. Love the review....thanks

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Do they have regular 110 -US outlets in the rooms? We leave soon and this would be helpful to know. Love the review....thanks

 

Yes, the entire fleet has both US 110v and European 2 pin 220v in staterooms

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:) Thanks for the review, some good, some bad, and others may have different tastes and opinions, but hey if we were all the same.....what a boring world it would be.

This is my first ever cruise, so nothing to compare, in YC, so doing it in style:):)

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