On October 4, 2014, we checked into what was supposed to be the exclusive "Yacht Club," a ship within a ship. Butlers escorted us from the street to a private room while waiting to board the MSC Divina. What MSC did not inform us was the procedure upon arrival as to what to do and where. Consequently, we checked our baggage with the longshoreman, tipped him, only to be told that we needed to check our baggage directly with the "butlers."
So, we retrieved our luggage from the man we had just tipped, now for nothing, drug our luggage to a white tent where it was taken over by the butler team. After a wait, we were taken up to our Yacht Club 2 level suite and settled in. We unpacked, fairly please with a two room accommodation, with a bathroom complete with a Jacuzzi tub, and nice size. The view was great as it looked out over the bow of the ship. Where the ship was headed, we could see.
As always, I was very tired from the plane trip as my back goes into a total uproar, and I laid down to sleep for an hour or so. As it got later in the afternoon, and closer to the mandatory lifeboat drill, we dressed in the bedroom, grabbed our life jackets and headed out. Once it was over, we returned to the suite and changed for dinner. As I walked barefoot to the bathroom, I stepped on the carpet outside the bathroom and had water envelope and cover my toes. The carpet was drenched.
I called our "exclusive" concierge and was told someone would respond at once. When they did, we found out that MSC was already aware of the problem as it had occurred on the previous cruise. The sealant around the tub and shower and disintegrated, allowing water to flow freely out of the bathroom and onto the carpet. As I looked closer at the carpet, I could see salt stains from previous flooding and I counted three, plus the new one.
While we were at dinner, they dry vac'd the water and set up this massive machine that blew wind around so strong, I'm surprised our full wall-sized glass that allowed us to look out at the world managed to stay in place. It was then that I smelled what was a putrid smell of wet carpet. It permeated everything. We should have never been put into this suite in the first place.
The Ship's hotel department offered to move us to a downgraded suite, but do to a language problem, it was not made clear whether or not we would be refunded the difference between the second level suite and the one down from that. We stayed the night in the room.
The next morning, the stench from the carpet was too much. After being told that we would have to vacate the suite for repairs to be made, I contacted the hotel department and told them that we'd take the one room suite that was no different than any other balcony cabin on any other ship. I began to pack only to be told that the butlers would take care of all of that. I watched as three men came in a began to pack our bags that had been unpacked the night before.
I was told they would take care of everything and to follow the head butler to our new suite, the aforementioned ordinary balcony cabin. The baggage arrived, and we insisted on unpacking and placing things where we wanted them. When we had finished, we realized, we were missing clothes.
I called and informed the Ship that not all of our clothes made it. Twenty minutes later, four more long sleeve shirts arrived from the previous suite on Deck 12 to our new deck, deck 15. As we looked the clothes over, we noticed that we were still missing one Brooks Brothers Tuxedo Shirt, valued at $129 when I purchased it, now selling for $135. We were also missing one pair of Tuxedo suspenders, valued at $35 off the rack. I informed them once again. This time, no one came up with anything.
I gave them anther day to find the missing items, which they did not. I then informed the hotel department, that either the clothing had be stolen or lost. I met with the head of that department and was told that a search of my new cabin would have to be undertaken as part of the search. While uncomfortable with the idea, I readily agreed.
Shortly thereafter, a knock on my door, revealed FIVE (5) security people, including a ship's officer, the head butler, and three suited security types complete with ear plugs. I was then questioned like a common criminal about the shirt and suspenders. What brand was the shirt, when did I see it, was it in the ships laundry, etc. One even got on his hands and knees and looked under our bed! All of our things were gone through by these paragons of security acuteness. I was then told the crew would be questioned, and other things.
Let there be no mistake about it; as many searches as I've done as law enforcement, my cabin was treated as if it was being raided for drugs, and I was a smuggler. But surely this crack security team found my items.....eh, no.
Not only did they not find my missing clothing items, no one ever got back to me about the results. I heard ZERO from MSC Divina. To this day, I do not know what they found out, who they talked to or what happened to my missing clothes. I do know that we were not compensated for being put into a suite that MSC knew was not fit for guests, the hassle of moving three decks, nor for the missing clothing valued at $164. Finally, there is NO excuse for the way I was treated by the security staff, none whatsoever. If they think that a man with a distinguished law enforcement career behind him would try and scam any ship over a tuxedo shirt and suspenders, they are deluded. Will I ever sail with MSC again? Hell no! I also do not recommend to my friends and readers that they book with them either. There are much finer cruise lines who know how to treat a guest, and unless given probable cause, that does not include treating said guest as if he were a drug smuggler! Oh, still searching for the refund of the difference between the two grades of cabins.
Finally, I really wanted to like this ship and this cruise. They have a lot of good things going for them, such as the Yacht Club, butlers, free alcohol, etc. But all that was ruined by their treatment of me as an individual.