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MSC Divina

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Sorry I did not get around to a TR at the time, so this is in the perspective of a year past. We were on the MSC Divina on a 7 day Caribbean cruise with DD and GD in March of 2015.

What I liked.
Good and well organized embarkation.
The Divina is a gorgeous ship, understated elegance, subdued colors.
Ship was very clean.
Staff was polite and generally helpful.

Food was generally good to excellent.
Buffet areas were very nice, well kept, interesting variety of food.
Dining rooms are beautiful and well designed, private and quiet enough for conversation with no outside distractions. I really liked that, hate noisy dinning areas. We had the same small table and waiter every night. He was excellent beyond compare. Dinnerware, flowers, etc. were all above average.
Service was exceptionally good in the dining rooms, somewhat more formal than some other ships. I appreciated that, especially for exposing GD to a good social experience and good manners. GD was treated with exceptional kindness and attention at dinner. My DD had given her lessons on how to "eat with the Queen" and dressed her up for dinner every night. I was so proud of her. (She was only 5 then) Our waiter brought her little gifts and made flowers for her. I think he was appreciative of her good behavior. You will see why under the bad.

Entertainment, especially the music, was the best I have seen on any ship. It ran the gamut from Frank Sinatra to Opera. Most of the singers were Italian with good training. It was funny, however, to see Sinatra songs done with huge, dramatic arm and hand movements and emotional facial expressions to emphasize the words. Sinatra did it with vocal expression. I guess these singers did not think that was enough. While many singers can sing in another language with no accent, these still had trouble with some vowels. Add that to the hand movements, and lines like, "I bit off more than I could chew," pronounced, "I beet off more than I could chew," accompanied by fingers moving to lips as though he were actually eating something and, even with a great voice, it was too comical to appreciate it as a serious Sinatra song. The lounge singers, dancers, musicians and other entertainers were also way above average. Bands were not ear blasting. We enjoyed it all.

Shops were very nice with good quality merchandise and good staff. I actually bought some good quality jewelry on this cruise.
Met many older passengers from many countries. Quite international in that respect. We enjoyed that. They were friendly and kind to GD. Many compliments to DD on GD.

The bad.
Didn't know ahead of time that all kids under 12 went free with two parents. Many Italian families took advantage of the offer, and there must have been several hundred kids on board. Probably not, but it seemed that way. Hope not to offend because I love Italy and have been many, many times, but a good many of these families ignored all rules, pushed ahead of everyone else and were rude to other parents and other children. The kids ran all over, no reprimands.

Example: Moms took babies in diapers into the hot tubs and the adult pools. This was not a one off thing. It was all during the cruise! Staff generally ignored the problem because when they tried to address it, they were met with rude words and gestures. Kids were totally unsupervised, diving into other children and invading the adult only pool while parents either lounged or were nowhere in sight.

Staff in the kids' areas did their best, but the areas were too small and understaffed for the number of kids. Unlike other ships, they did not have an established way to make the kid zones safe and secure from people just coming and going. Anyone could go in and pick up a child. Staff was so busy, even little kids could slip out unsupervised. Pushing and shoving parents made it worse. It was so unsafe, we did not leave GD.

By comparison, Norwegian Epic had locked kid zones with staffed entry. They had coded bracelets on each child with parents having matching coded cards that had to be scanned for you to pick up a child. The child also had to identify the person picking them up. The children's staff had meet and greets so parents, kids and GPs knew staff early on. NCL Epic was the best of our experiences. It was very family oriented and too loud for my old ears, but people followed the rules about behavior.

MSC Divina did have some really great activities for the kids, cooking, talent shows, etc. GD participated as much as possible, but just too many kids for anything to work.

Public hallways were sometimes used for things like photo viewing and pickup, making it super crowded. Again, many people were rude, pushing ahead, etc. I am not good at pushing in front of people, so generally gave up and did not buy photos I really wanted. The staff ignored people politely waiting and took people wildly waving their arms, pushing, shouting, etc. Security standing by were complicit in that, sometimes directing people back and letting loud, obnoxious women to the front of the line. Twice, after waiting for over an hour each time, I left without photos.

Tendering was the same, pushing and shoving, with kids being pushed in front of you by parents.

What MSC Divna needs to Improve.
MSC needs to limit the number of kids and enforce pool rules. Personally, for many of the kids, they should have charged extra.

They need to take a lesson from NCL on how to run a kid's program, especially for safety.

They need to move busy activities (like photo viewing and/or pickup, to another Venue and use ropes to keep orderly lines.

The ship itself was beautiful with fabulous entertainment, and was in general a lovely experience, so these things may seem minimal, but too many kids and irresponsible parents were annoying (particularly the diapers in hot tubs) and the disorder and treatment in lines such as trying to buy photos kind of colored it for me. If you will not be using hot tubs and pools, only going for food and great variety of good entertainment, it is a great ship. If you also want the pools and hot tubs, avoid it unless you can be assured it would not be such a family oriented cruise. With kids, if you hoped to let them stay in the kid's zones while you had time to yourself, I would choose a different ship where they would be safe. If you want your kids to stay with you, or the cruise has fewer kids, then it would be great.

Honestly, if they did these things, it would be a perfect cruise.

All, of course, just my personal opinion.

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