MSC Divina Food 6/10
We had a fairly good experience with the food during our voyage. Here are some of the issues that account for the lower score of this section. There is a lack of variety in the buffet for breakfast; you won’t find items like smoked salmon or eggs Benedict. There are about four stations with the same eggs and items just repeating themselves. Since there are really three options for breakfast—room service, MDR, and buffet—this is kind of a bust. The MDR did offer those items, but with the poor service and long waits, we tended to avoid the main dining room as often as possible.
For lunch the main dining room offers a nice selection and good delicious food, but again keep in mind the problem stated above. The buffet for lunch offers decent food, but nothing really stood out to me. There is also a lack of seafood that is very hard to ignore. You will only find shrimp in the children’s section, in the form of popcorn shrimp. Also on day 6 of our voyage I noticed grilled calamari for 3 hours. Other than that you will see plenty of pastas, some of which are good and other which are not. The pizza is excellent, but one cannot go on a 7-day cruise and eat just pizza.
As for dinner, I wish I would have gone more to the main dining room, but 2-hour meals are not my thing. Many will criticize me and say that this is the European way, but as I have stated before this ship was Americanized and given to the U.S. to try to make more of a presence here. This is one aspect that will irritate many of us who are used to faster meals. The food for dinner was ok; a few great items, but most fall under the average category. Nothing terribly bad or anything like that, but again the end result is that we avoided the MDR because of the service and ended eating in the buffet, which has lower-quality dinner food when compared with the MDR.
To me it seemed like MSC is purposely pushing people away from the MDR, so that they can save money on the more expensive items like seafood and better meats. Just a thought …
MSC Divina Cabin 9/10
MSC Divina rooms remind of the staterooms aboard the Silhouette; they are adequate with nothing major to complain about. The only thing that did bother me was where the closets were located and how obstructive the doors were once they are opened. It is near to impossible to do anything once you open them.
The bathroom is nice with good water pressure; everything looks nice and clean as can be expected on a newer vessel like this one. The balcony is a nice size, and furnished appropriately.
We were all very happy with our rooms, and of course the added benefit of getting a handicapped room was the extra space.
Cabin TV System & Internet 6/10
The Internet system is by far the best that I have ever used on a cruise ship. It was very fast, and the best feature is that you are allowed to break connection on the exact second without charging for the entire minute like every other cruise line. This is something that every cruise line should look into implementing. I read that new Quantum of the Seas will be the most connected ship; I would love to see something like this on that ship.
The TV system was pretty lousy; most channels were news channels and there were only a few channels that offered TV shows. Not only that, but there was an abundant number of channels in different languages. In our case it was not an issue since there were a few in Spanish, but for the U.S. traveler this could be an issue. I was not able to find any channels that offered free movies, either.
The last thing to note is that you’re not able to check your onboard account on the TV system until 24 hours before getting off the ship. Quite honestly that does not make any sense to me at all.
MSC Divina Pools, Jacuzzis, & Adult-Only Area 7/10
MSC calls the aft pool the Zen area; unfortunately they do not enforce this rule and you often find children in there. There are also no dedicated children-free Jacuzzis unless you pay for the solarium. The Zen pool is absolutely amazing—well, it is actually called the garden pool. But the overall area is something out of a magazine. If MSC gave made this area adult-only and enforced the rules, this would be without a doubt my favorite part of the ship.
That said, I think that MSC Divina has a good number of pools and Jacuzzis aboard the ship. Even though I found them extremely crowded at times, it seems like the three main pools took up most of the space of the lido deck.
There are a few smaller pools around the main pool, they are supposed to be the children’s pools. The water temperature in the pools is very pleasant. Also keep in mind that all pools are salt water, and they are drained each night.
The indoor pool is fantastic, surrounded by tables and plenty of shade for those who fear the sun. However there is a major issue in this area. The floors are incredibly slippery, and dangerous. I encourage you to be very careful around this area, it is just an accident waiting to happen.
We also found our piece of heaven in those two hidden aft Jacuzzis, so all in all it worked out well for us. The only thing I wish that they would do is to place a roof over the Jacuzzis. I am starting to think that most cruise lines leave them open to try to get people to stay there for only a few minutes.
MSC Divina Activities (for Adults) 5/10
This is by far my major complaint about this ship. MSC has a gorgeous vessel; it is a shame that the cruise director is not exploiting the true potential of the ship. Andre does not do a good job at scheduling activities, or at the very least not how I am used to.
Until my MSC Divina cruise, the Celebrity Silhouette had the fewest number of activities, but X had much more than MSC Divina. I believe that if MSC really wants to tailor to the U.S. market, and even more so to the group of people in that price range, they need to bring on a U.S. CD, maybe one from Norwegian or Carnival. I know that sounds odd, but if you’re selling cruises in the price range, you need to appeal to that market.
The main problem I see is that MSC is trying to appeal to many cultures at the same time, and that can be a very complicated task. But it can be done, just do like every other cruise line and schedule smaller events and not just three huge ones per day.
MSC Divina Shows 7/10
We enjoyed some of the shows aboard MSC Divina. The Italian show was great, as was the Michael Jackson show. It was a true shame we missed the Frank Sinatra one, they should consider scheduling it on another day.
As far as the Cirque-style shows goes … quite honestly they are not my type, nor any of my party’s type. They tended to be slow and just boring. I remember someone saying that it seemed like they just changed the outfits and the music. I think that describes it perfectly. Then again this is nothing more than my opinion. Personally I don’t think that I enjoy Cirque-style shows, and on MSC Divina they are almost half of the presentations. That said, a lot of people love them and claim that MSC Divina has some of the best-produced Cirque shows at sea.
I think this is a valid rating; we would have actually loved half of the shows.
MSC Divina Bars & Lounges 7/10
There are plenty of bars on MSC Divina, and by far the most comprehensive drink lists that I have ever seen on a cruise! But nothing really stood out, like a floating bar, or an Ice bar, or the amazing entertainment from the Silhouette martini bar. The staff are rather on the dry side, not a lot of entertainment factor to them.
MSC Divina Ship Decor & Elegance 10/10
The ship decor is fascinating! The staircase is unlike anything you have seen before, those 20K Swarovski crystal steps are incredible! The theme continues throughout the ship. I would dare to say that the ship is on par with the Silhouette and the Disney Dream. The vessel is also kept impeccable inside and out; you will struggle to find any kind of rust forming on the outside of the ship.
It would be really amazing if the rest of the ship was on a par with the appearance on the ship. I found really hard to match such an amazing ship with just ok food, and poor activities.
MSC Divina Unique Area—Aft Pool, Formula 1 Simulator 7/10
The aft pool of this ship is very unique. I absolutely loved sitting by the glass and staring down at the ocean. I wish that the pool was kept completely full at all times; otherwise it goes from being an endless pool to a regular pool. But overall the entire area is very enjoyable, I just wish that MSC kept their word and kept the children out of the area.
The Formula 1 simulator is a full-blown simulator that moves around. I really wish that we got to try it out, since I have not seen anything like this on any ship before. Actually I have never seen a simulator like that ever, period! I would have scored this area higher if the simulator were not broken during our entire sailing.
MSC Divina Service 6/10
MSC really needs to improve in this area if they want to succeed in the U.S. market. Some of the staff just look like they are miserable, while others try to do their best at all times. Our room steward was fantastic; I only wish that we had at least one towel animal. My mom made a point of how much she missed having the towel animals when she arrived in the room late at night.
The main dining room service wasn’t my thing; like I said, 2-hour meals really turned me off. And just the overall service in the ship is lacking when you compare it with all the other cruises that I have sailed on. And do not forget the very rude “gold by the inch” salesman that immediately assumed that my family was poor, telling my mom that it was too expensive for her to afford and then ignoring her while he yelled at an employee.
The overall feeling is a disconnection from the crew and the ship, almost as if they just did not care about absolutely anything about the ship. But like I said, there were a few exceptional crew members.
MSC Divina Score & Conclusion 70 out of 100
We had a great time aboard MSC Divina! It was a very enjoyable family vacation and one that we will never forget. However, as a reviewer it is my job to point out my overall opinion on the ship. I think I rated the ship fairly and gave ample points where she deserved them. I am afraid that MSC Divina could have scored much higher than this, and deep inside I wish it had. I think MSC has had more than enough time to adjust to the U.S. market, and there are many factors that have gone ignored by the company. We now know that MSC is pulling the ship from Miami and sending it back to Europe for the summer, I believe they plan on bringing her back for winter 2016, but I could be wrong.
I think MSC finds itself in an odd place; they have an incredibly gorgeous and elegant ship. One that does not fit the price range they are in. But by having subpar food, service, and activities, they have been forced to market the ship in that way. They should add more activities to make everyone on board happy.
All that said, would I sail in MSC Divina again? You bet I would! But only at the right price. Well, that is unless they start addressing several of the issues mentioned above.
Just a quick recall of scores:
Disney Dream 89%
Allure of the Seas 86%
As you can see, MSC Divina is my lowest-rated ship of this class. The Sky scored lower, but that ship is in another category. I sure hope that the product does improve with time. I hate to see such a gorgeous ship score low, when you well know the potential is there to have an amazing product. Some minute changes like making one of the pools strictly for adults. Changing the gratuity system to encourage the crew to work happier and more efficiently. Making one of the main dining rooms into “anytime time.” And last but not least, scheduling more activities that engage the passengers in separate areas of the ship, to dissipate the crowd. Those should be fairly inexpensive to change.
The food is another story. For this price range the food is ok. I understand that the price of the cruise might need to rise slightly if we want better food all around the ship.
I think that encompasses my overall opinion of the ship. As of now I am not sure when my next cruise will be, possibly next year.
Thank you for reading my MSC Divina review.