MSC Divina....think of it as "Celebrity Lite" and also if Celebrity was started as an Italian and not Greek line. What is the common link? MSC CEO Rick Sasso was one of the original executives for Celebrity and later on was their CEO before leaving for MSC.
Billy - it is a good thing you have a few months before you sail on the Divina. They have some growing pains to 'fix' in their quest to cater to American cruisers. I had some excellent meals on Divina - easily as good as any I've ever had on more expensive cruise lines. But I also had some mediocre food too. The breakfast buffet is not good. The lunch buffet is good. It's a consistency problem they need to tune up. Rick Sasso was aboard with us, we talked to him, and he knows what needs to be remedies.
Service can be too laid back as far as appreciating keeping on schedule. It was unacceptable to me for the cabin steward to be doing the nightly bed turndowns at 9pm and delivering the next days paperwork at 10pm or later, by knocking on the door, as though everyone on the ship stays up to the wee hours as is common in Europe.
Debarkation was a total mess. No briefing by the CD, neither live or on video. No plan handed out to the guests on the last day of the cruise. I finally got the details about waiting areas and approximate exit times at 11pm last night! And the steward just stuck them in the cabin mail slots outside. That was common for everyone, not just because I had a poor crewman assigned to my cabin. He handed out the luggage tags first, at around 9pm, but they were useless since I didn't know what the color or number meant. Then he came around again, separately, around 10pm and put Customs declarations in the mail slot outside the cabin.
I would have missed my flight if I followed what they assigned me to, and they were giving dire warnings about those doing self-debarkation had to sign up by 10am yesterday. They even issued tags for that group. But I decided I was going to leave with them so this morning I simply went to their area and stood there, no orange tags on my carry-ons, and nobody asked (a good thing for them). We left at 8am and I was sitting in the Delta Sky Club at MIA by 8:30am.
Do not get a cabin the connects to another one. The connecting doors are too thin. I could hear my neighbors like they were sitting in my cabin with me.
They had no wash cloths - a European thing - but they had better get some for the American crowd.
No bar soap. Squirt soap for the sink, and squirt soap and shampoo for the shower/tub.
Beautiful cabins though. Very dark and elegant.
Firm mattress, perhaps too firm for some.
As I said - they will get this stuff fixed but I wouldn't cruise with them for at least a few weeks.
Dave, excellent review. I also want to try them but will wait. I am sure they will work out the kinks. I agree with you on your cabin steward, we are used to everything being done by 8:30 at least. Wash clothes are a must! When we go to Europe I always take some with us. I hate to say this but I am a tad nervous about what is in the squirt shampoo, you know us Ladies who spend $$$ on coloring our hair LOL. RCCL had some bar soap, wow maybe I have sensitive skin but the first night I did use it and had a reaction to it on my face..yikes glad I took a nice bar with me. Thank you again Dave, it is much appreciated information for all of us. I do now love to try different lines so it is nice to have a heads up ! Keep on cruising Dave !!! :OD Oh I forgot tell us about that staircase with all the Swarovski Crystals was it spectacular ?? I would love to see it.
Well at least they had some kind of shampoo. On my recent 2-night Vision of the Seas there was no shampoo dispenser in the shower and there were no little bottles on the sink either. When I asked my cabin steward for some shampoo he stated they were no longer providing shampoo, only for those in suites. However; he said he would find me some. I told him that was unbelievable, and he said they were getting a lot of complaints. Shampoo is no place for a cruise line to try and make cutbacks. Especially with the airline liquid rules.
I guess we'll see about the shampoo in a month or so when we board Serenade Of The Seas. We are not in a suite this time. That is just being stupid, dropping shampoo. How much money is saved when they buy the stuff for the shower dispensers by the barrel full?
By the way, I gained a great appreciation for Rick Sasso on this cruise. He doesn't try to put the company spin on everything he says. He was frank about some things and open to criticism. Paul Motter and I approached him on day 2 and he asked if we were on the schedule to interview him that afternoon. We both said "we haven't seen a schedule". Rick was not happy to hear that. He got it fixed - right there on the spot. This is why I have confidence he'll get the little 'issues' on Divina fixed. And really, none of what I noted is a difficult thing to remedy. He just has to get the crew and ship's management all marching in the same direction on some things. Well, and buy a few thousand wash cloths.
Dave.......Truly You have given to us a most complete "Eagle's Eye" view of the goings on and the workings within the MSC Divina. I have been following Rick Sasso's comments on another website and have been impressed with the sincerity and honesty of his responses. After having done an inaugural cruise or two I have learned to give a new ship a few months to get itself shipshape....I do believe that Rick's experiences with Chandris and Celebrity will serve to bring MSC America up to snuff!! I thought well of Chandris way back when.......I believe eventually, under Rick Sasso, that MSC America will evolve into "Celebrity Lite" ( I love that term...hats off to you)!! Another job well done. Thank You for an excellent review and perspective on the MSC Divina......I will provide an appropriate update the end of March on her after Our adventure!!
Last edited by billybuzzy; 11-23-2013 at 07:19 PM.
I appreciate your kind comments, Billy. Rick Sasso strikes me as a stand-up guy. He walks the walk. And I mean that literally. It seemed that no matter where I was on our cruise, no matter the time of day, I'd see him. The guy must have been living on two hours sleep. I'd go to the buffet to sample the pizza and a minute later Rick comes walking through, clearly making mental notes of what he saw. Four hours later I stop for a beer after running around the ship myself for a while, taking photos and notes, and here comes Rick once again.
In the meantime, I might copyright 'Celebrity Lite'. Oh wait! I did so by posting it here! But I give you license to use it!