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Paul Motter November 13th, 2013 12:28 PM

MSC Divina coming to America
this ship is coming to the US this week to offer Caribbean cruises at great prices to the American market. It is a brand new ship and will be using English as the only language.

Anyone planning on trying this ship - or are you waiting for the reviews first?

Dave Beers November 13th, 2013 01:53 PM

When Doug Ward calls a ship "really stunning" and "elegantly attired" I pay attention. As you know he is not one to hand out praise freely.

While aboard next week for the debut cruise will be a job assignment, I will also be scouting MSC Divina as a possible choice for our annual summer family cruise next June.

(For those wondering, Douglas Ward is the undisputed dean of cruise ship evaluators and edits the industry bible "Berlitz Cruising & Cruise Ships", published annually with updated info.)

ruthlessboss November 13th, 2013 05:15 PM

From a past cruise on a MSC cruise from FLL years back, their ships are indeed elegant in their own way. I don't know how the entertainment will be on Divina, but on the Opera, some things in the theater were unmatched in perfection. Of course times have changed, so who knows. If they indeed stick with English only (I think you might be referring to announcements etc), that would be a plus for the American market. Frankly, that drove me nuts waiting through 7 languages to hear what they were getting at.
Unless I heard wrong, the smoking issue is severely cut back, not even on balconies.

ruthlessboss November 13th, 2013 05:29 PM

I was just looking up something and discovered savings for singles at 25% over doubles rate. November 13th, 2013 07:04 PM

I have a single gentleman sailing on the 11-night sailing on December 10th - got a great single rate!

He's cruised many times on all the major cruise lines and I respect his opinion, so it'll be interesting to see what he has to say.

MSC mainly caters to Europeans, who find them very nice. Americans, on the other hand, are divided. It'll be very interesting to see what changes they make to accommodate the U.S. cruisers and how they'll modify their brand.

I'd love to give them a try so I can find out first-hand how they compare to the other cruises we've taken. Hopefully, we'll get the chance before too long.


ruthlessboss November 13th, 2013 10:45 PM

I'm guessing the omitting of everything in 7 languages will be only for the "new" look and feel. Yes, they are very European, as we found out, and frankly found it annoying to a point. Why cater to the Europeans in American waters when all their other ships already in Europe do? On our cruise from FLL, frankly we felt like we were in some foreign land where people stayed segregated with their own nationality, English speaking people were indeed the minority. I must say in all fairness, it was over an Easter week, and that was their holiday time here, so maybe that contributed to the nationality imbalance.
I think and hope their new strategies work out so this ship will stay in the competition. This is a huge gamble on MSC's part to send us their newest and most expensive ship. It's also not a well known cruise line here in the states.

ruthlessboss November 13th, 2013 10:53 PM


Originally Posted by cruise planner (Post 1489208)
I have a single gentleman sailing on the 11-night sailing on December 10th - got a great single rate!

He's cruised many times on all the major cruise lines and I respect his opinion, so it'll be interesting to see what he has to say.

MSC mainly caters to Europeans, who find them very nice. Americans, on the other hand, are divided. It'll be very interesting to see what changes they make to accommodate the U.S. cruisers and how they'll modify their brand.

I'd love to give them a try so I can find out first-hand how they compare to the other cruises we've taken. Hopefully, we'll get the chance before too long.


Zowie, what a cruise:shock: Supplement was just 16%, and what a cruise it is:D

sidari November 26th, 2013 01:10 PM

Divina will be staying in Miami for two years in which time if they have not improved their market share they never will.

We have done two transatlantics with them now and certainly preferred the 92,000 ton Poesia (Barcelona to FLL) to the 140,000 Divina (Venice to Miami) Divina appears to have less general open space than Poesia despite it being a bigger ship, at least half of the crew are from Poesia and have worked the Caribbean previously.

One of the problems is that MSC had an idea to move a big ship to the USA but left all the planning and changes to the last minute and in the process alienated a lot of those coming over to Miami and not just the passengers.

Will Divina be a success? only time will tell but going by our cruises on Princess and Royal it is certainly going to be difficult for them, after all the Gloss only lasts for so long before the cracks begin to appear.

To charge Europeans for room service while those from North America pay nothing is certainly going to cause a fair few arguements along the way.

One loyal MSC passenger told me on Divina (her 2nd trip on it) Divina is all show and no substance! and i must say we prefer the Interior of Poesia and Opera to Divina.

Trip November 26th, 2013 02:06 PM

I have a friend who came with us on our first "Chef Matt" cruise on the Epic, on this ship's a test cruise to see if he'll like the ship, which he has booked again for a cruise from Brazil next year.

Paul Motter November 27th, 2013 11:58 AM

I heard from people on the transatlantic and the following cruise that (1) they picked up a lot of crew in St Martin (many Jamaicans) and (2) that service got better after Miami. I would have to say it got better during the three days we were on board, but they still face challenges.

sidari November 28th, 2013 08:37 AM

Paul, At least half the crew on the Divina when it sailed from Venice were from the Poesia who had done the previous years transatlantic cruise and had worked the caribbean previously.

Friends who were on the ship told us their waiter in the Black Crab spoke very little English and they had a bad time trying to make him understand what they wanted to order.

We were lucky to have a great waiter from India called Steven, our waiter from the Poesia last year Wayan was also in the same dining room, anyone who is lucky enough to have either of these guys will not go wrong.

Apart from the waiter issue there is also the kitchen issue, one serves both the Black Crab and Villa Rossa while the other serves just the Black Crab on the other floor! that may well explain some of the slow service along with the fact that assistant waiters are always off bringing drinks while the waiter does everything else.

Paul Motter November 28th, 2013 09:00 AM

I also noticed a very slow process in the Lido for clearing tables (and filing new trays) - they have to carry everything through the crowds - there is very litter background or crew area up there. You see staff carrying large items and dirty trays very long distances and they stack up in these visible waiting areas. It is not good. And the managers need to crack down and make the workers work more, lots of dirty tables, etc.

Dave Beers November 28th, 2013 10:11 AM

I went to the buffet to check out breakfast all three mornings last week. I'd get a small sample of some things. The scrambled eggs and pre-made omelets were always cold - room temperature at best. The buffet tray full of fried eggs was unappetizing - north Americans prefer that style of egg made to order. Bacon was overcooked and hard. It was very disappointing. The dining room breakfast I ended up getting was fine with good service.

The Black Crab location is poor. It is hard to get to if you are on deck 7. But, it is a design gaffe that they are stuck with now.

As Paul noted elsewhere, our table had horrible service on the first night. Our waiter was Filipino and spoke perfect English. It was also a bad table location, stuck in a little nook in the wall that was initially set for 6 places. It was barely big enough for four. It was like a picnic table with curved benches for seats. We even had to get the guy pouring the wine (not our waiter or his assistant) to bring us salt and pepper shakers. That happened again on the final night. How do you forget to put salt and pepper shakers on the tables when you are setting them? That is a fundamental for a dining room staff. It also shows that the headwaiters were not inspecting tables after they were set for dinner service.

However, on the 2nd and last nights the service was good and they brought the food out very quickly - almost too quickly as compared to the glacial service the first night. First night was almost 3 hours. The last two nights was a abour an hour and 15 minutes from start to finish.

sidari November 28th, 2013 04:22 PM

Paul .. You may have also noticed the two badly sited beverage stations? one on each side of the buffet where there was a door leading into the kitchen area, people has to literally squeeze past each other to make their drinks.

Dave .. I agree with you totaly regarding breakfast in the buffet how can you ruin a boiled Egg ? by the second week of our 18 night cruise we had changed to healthy smoothies, cereal and English muffins something that they later ran out of along with bananas for three days then magically re appeared for the last 2 but only if you asked specially for them. I asked the assistant head chef why they had non and he had no idea.

The Villa Rossa is also a pain to get to from anywhere forward of the photo shop, if you are on deck 5 or 6 you have to go up to 7 and go across and then down to 6.

There are a few other designs flaws that we came across during our 18 nights which i have mentioned in my review that i hope to post soon.

ruthlessboss November 28th, 2013 08:47 PM

I hope you post some positive things. It seems like you have looked for and found the negatives.

Dave Beers November 28th, 2013 10:11 PM

The steaks on the 3-night Divina cruise were excellent, frankly better than any I've had in the extra-fee steakhouses on Carnival and Royal Caribbean. Perfectly cooked and full of flavor, and a pretty hefty portion too. This was true both at the extra-fee Eataly Steakhouse and in the dining room, where I had a beautifully cooked sirloin on embarkation day. Yes, they had a main dining room open for lunch at embarkation, in addition to the usual buffet. I hope this wasn't just for our benefit (the media and agents who were aboard), and that they do this as a normal thing.

sidari November 29th, 2013 06:45 AM

RB .. There are Positive things in the review but you have to remember that many things have been changed to suit the Caribbean sailings and aimed at just one type of client, whereas the repo cruise had Turkish, Swiss, French, Italian, in large numbers totaled up with British, Australians and others. As for negative things you did not have to look for them because some jumped on or at you, but rather than see them as negative see them more as informative.

For instance we had 18 days with just one crew member with one toast machine behind a glass screen cooking Bagles, Bread and English Muffins for hundreds if not thousands of people, on the day we were getting off the ship that toast machine and others suddenly appeared around the buffet!

It also deals with issues that people we believe need to be aware of with regard to the ship. The ones that a 3 day review probably will not have time to mention, no slight intended to you guys who were on it for those days.

With regard to Steaks they did change about half way through the cruise and for the better which was great although we are still baffled as to how you can cook one half well done and the other half be pink inside. The new Burgers that they began to produce were much bigger in size and looked great but were just meat and no taste.

No idea if a Dining room was open on Embarkation day in Venice as we went to the buffet quite early in the day ie around 12-30pm, we had been there for about twenty minutes when there was a total power loss for around five minutes. No idea as to why it happened.

Dave Beers November 29th, 2013 08:35 AM

I almost forgot about the solo toaster! That was the case on the 3-day cruise too, at least on one morning. I don't recall seeing other toast stations set up. The lone machine on the starboard side with one crewman making toasted breads at the astonishing rate of two pieces every minute.

Those burger were large - they looked to be almost 1/3 pound. I think the key was when you got one. I had one that had just been placed in the serving tray and it was juicy (well, greasy) and pretty good. Others I talked to said they got burgers that had sat for a while and the grease had soaked through the bun and wrapper and were a mess. For those wondering - Divina assembles burgers, hot dogs, fries, behind the serving line and places them in trays all wrapped up or in boxes, like a fast food restaurant. I think they should not do that, but put out everything separately so people can assemble their own. As it was, you are limited to what you can get. "Hamburger with gherkins and ketchup" "Cheeseburger with gherkins and ketchup" and some sort of deluxe burger. It was 'have it our way'. No onions, lettuce, tomato, not even as an add-on in the burger serving line unless you ventured to a salad bar.

sidari November 29th, 2013 10:21 AM

The Toaster you mention was one of the others they brought out, the original one was placed on the Port side, my other half used it on the last morning as you say aided by a crew member.

I have to agree with you about the burgers in the buns! after the first one i always got one without them for the reason you mentioned. no idea why there are no fried onions available but maybe they will cotton on as the weeks and cruises go by.

sidari December 2nd, 2013 07:18 AM

How long does it usually take for a Review to be added ? submitted mine.

Paul Motter December 2nd, 2013 09:51 AM


I apologize, I was traveling and did not see the review come in. It is online now.

sidari December 2nd, 2013 11:21 AM

Paul ... Thanks for the response. Is there any reason under poster the name Sidari does not appear ?

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