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stp_mmh5

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About stp_mmh5

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    Cool Cruiser

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  • Location
    Italy
  • Interests
    Halloween, Reading, Cruising!
  • Favorite Cruise Line(s)
    We aren't picky! We'll try everything at least once.
  • Favorite Cruise Destination Or Port of Call
    Costa Maya in the Caribbean. Although, we love Barcelona!

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  1. There were two formal nights. They are separated, as one is called Gala night and the other is Elegant night. The difference is simply Gala night is the ball gown, super formal night. Whereas Elegant night is a little toned down. Not many people dressed to the nines each night, but being in YC many couples did. Macon and Shane
  2. I believe check in open around 11 in the morning and you can arrive then and be the first to board that day. They do not seem to mind at all what time you arrive. I have no idea what our check in time was this trip, but back in December on Meraviglia is was 1600 or so, and we arrived then promptly boarded at 1130.
  3. "A week for a day, perfectly imbalanced as all things tend to be" - Thanos As we continue our journey, we return to Palma de Mallorica. We had been here before, on surprise visit the first time we missed Malta on the Meraviglia in 2017, but none the less still very excited to see the island again. For the first time with MSC and the first time in a long time, we planned a ship tour. The one we chose was the Cuveas De Drach and Pearl Factory tour. So on the day of, we woke up early as we tended to do, and got some cafe lattes from the lounge. We then shuffled back into our cabin in anticipation of the room service we ordered the night before. Pravin brought it right on time and set it all up for us in the room. I had hoped to set it up on the balcony, but it was very windy on our side, so we settled with just keeping the curtains open. Nothing to special about the meal, pretty standard fare. Since we didn't arrive into Palma until 1 in the afternoon, we did a quick loop around the ship. The spa had a decent daily special, and booked Macon into it. We then headed up to the pool deck for some sunshine. Found some loungers on the backside of the grill area, close to where the elevators are that were in the sun but pretty blocked from the wind. During lunch we watched our approach into the harbor area, and when we got close enough I went back to set up the GoPro and get ready for our excursion. We received the tickets the night before, with instructions to meet at Concierge desk. When we got there at the assigned time, we waited a few minutes for a few late folks, then headed down in a group to the bus. We were split up, with the English/German guests grouped together and the Italian/Spanish/French guests in another group. Once all accounted for on the bus we settled in for the hour plus ride to the caves. Along the way, the guide was attempting to give us fun facts and the like, but between the other passengers talking amongst themselves, the poor volume from the speakers, and just hard to understand guide, we couldn't understand what he was trying to say so just gave up trying to listen. As we got progressively closer to the caves, the weather started to turn from nice and sunny to thunderstorms. When we got to the caves, we were given quick instructions on how get into the caves and where and when to meet upon exiting the caves. So we were the only ship in port this day, but there still a large number of tour groups all arriving at the same time. This caused a long line that moved slowly into a very bottlenecked entrance into the cave. It made enjoying the cave harder, because if you tried to stop to take pictures, people would push and shove past you. Likewise, if people stopped to take pictures, you would have to push and shove to get past them, especially when they had a habit of stopping in the center of the small path. So other than the large amount of people in there, the cave is really nice, and we loved all the stalagmite/stalactite formations, the pools of clear water, and the way some of the lighting was incorporated into the rock formations. The highlight of the experience is the underground concert. You take seats along benches near the edge of the lake, the lights go out, and row boats come out with musicians that play classical music. Which would have been much more enjoyable if it wasn't for the individual behind us that decided to loudly crunch, suck and smack lips on whatever he was eating. It sounded like he was trying to eat sunflower seeds through a straw. We asked him to stop, which lasted all of thirty seconds, then asked again, more forcibly this time because it was very irritating. That lasted about a minute, then back to the smacking. We would have moved, but there was not enough light to move and find new seats. While this was going on, the show attendants were busy moving around telling people to turn off their cameras as recording was not allowed. This was said pre-show a few times in all the major European languages, but obviously people don't care. After the show, you have the option to take a short ride on the row boats, and the most of the crowd immediately shifted that way. We decided to pass, and get away from the noisy eater and all the other people as quickly as possible. If you choose not to take the boat, there is a concrete path over the water that takes you to all the stairs up and out of the cave. After exiting, we went to the gift shop, then went towards the bus since it was almost time to go. Total time spent in the cave, maybe an hour and a half, to include the concert. Once everyone got back on the bus we went to the pearl factory. Now as we read the description, it seemed like we were going to an actual place where they harvest pearls and make the jewelry. Where we actually went was an outlet store, that had a continuous video on they make the pearls playing, and a very large showroom. That, and the store was about a hundred meters away from the caves. So we got on a bus to go a hundred meters. Then we all had to get off, whether you wanted to do the pearl place or not. Luckily the pearl place had a cafe, so we grabbed some sangrias and snacks. After the brief stop, about thirty minutes, everyone re-boarded the bus for the hour-ish drive back to Palma. The weather improved as we returned to Palma, going back to beautiful sunshine and warmth. Much better than the crap weather at the caves. Once in town, we were given three options. 1. Follow the guide into the city center. 2. Wait for the guide to return and take our bus back to the ship. 3. Take one of the shuttle buses lined back to the ship if we wanted to leave early. Macon had a spa appointment so we decided to take the earliest shuttle back to the ship. Taking the shuttle was nice, as it drops you off next to the ship, versus when we were last here and walked all the way from the terminal to the ship. Everyone raced to get off the bus and to the nearest entrance where a line was formed, so we looked for the YC paddle and followed a butler to the gangway at the front, walked right on, and straight back to the cabin. After dropping of our stuff, we still had time before the appointment, so a trip down to the Sports Bar to catch up with Miguel and eat our now favorite pre-meal meal. Macon went off for her thing, and I went up to the pool deck to catch some sun and sit in the hot tub for a bit. I took this opportunity to catch up some reading, as Macon is now through two books. After her pamper session, we get ready for dinner. John and Joel were up to the usual jokes and shenanigans. Dinner was excellent as always, and with most people still off the ship, the dining room was relatively quiet. This means we could take dinner slower and enjoy conversations with the restaurant staff. We had no plans for the night so we just leisurely walked around the ship post dinner. We spent some more time listening to the saxist in the Cantina, while chatting up the bartender there. We got more insight on the crew perspective of Caribbean vs Med sailings, which was fun for us. We love learning things like that, as well as what crew life is like. We then spent some time doing some window shopping, a little bit of actual shopping, then finally remembered that we needed to try to order Venchi gelato and drinks to see if it was included. We decided to try a chocolate martini (Since that's apparently all the rage on Seaside) and I got a small cup of espresso gelato. The waitstaff said that the gelato would be an extra charge, but had no issues with the martini. In the end, the total was 0.00. So is it included? Who knows. Makes me think of the casino, sometimes you may be lucky, sometimes maybe not. Much better place to gamble in my mind, because you get free ice cream if you win. We then went to go see Miguel for our post dessert dessert drinks, but his area was slammed. There were a lot of games on that night, so we decided we would see him the next day. Then we went up to the lounge for a bit, then off to the cabin. I decided to stay up a bit longer, to try and catch a time lapse of us leaving Palma at night. We left right on time, and I was getting some great views of the cathedral and the city on the GoPro when disaster struck. The thrusters came on, sent a decent vibration right up to our balcony, which then caused the suction cup to lose suction, where then the pull of gravity worked it's magic. I watched it all happen in slow motion, making a feeble attempt to catch it when it bounced off the rail that the window washer runs on, then stared as it tumbled straight into the water ending in a splash. All of those awesome time lapse videos were gone just like that. Macon thought I was going overboard as she heard my gasp and saw me lean over the railing. Somewhere in my mind, I thought maybe, just maybe it could be recovered, so I went to ask concierge if it would be possible to reach out to the port agent and ask. What's the worst they'll say? No? Least I can try. She said she would. With that, I figured it was best for bed, plus the next day was supposed to be an early one. Now onto the visuals.... The spread The view A selection of shots from within the Cave. All photo's were taken with my Google Pixel 3 Without the Google Pixel 3's night sight feature on With the night sight feature on The clear waters A very, very deep hole What is nice is that the paths are paved, kept relatively dry, and there are guides along the way to help keep the groups moving Firestone Back in the sunshine, we see our wonderful ship awaiting Dinner Menu Joel's Potato Lentil Soup. Shane Tested, Macon Approved Crab cake yes, Maryland Crab Cake? No. Nowhere near enough Old Bay seasoning Duck with edible wine Lobster ravioli Delicious pork tenderloin And finally Apple Streudel with vanilla ice cream. It does have raisins in it for those who aren't a fan. Like Macon. Which means I didn't have to share. A chocolate martini. Albeit, probably not the same type as is often mentioned. Palma at night is amazing Minutes before disaster Minutes after disaster
  4. Mikalen, You are correct in how the My Vegas Rewards read is that you have to redeem before booking the cruise. The only reason the person we chatted with added our My Vegas Rewards was because we had booked literally less than 12 hours before and the confirmation hadn't quite cleared their system. This allowed them to bypass the initial restrictions in adding the My Vegas Rewards to our booking. So, a word of advice from us would be that if you already have a cruise booked, you will not be able to add it; however, if you know you plan to book an additional cruise, redeem the points just before you book the next cruise or shortly after you book so that it can be added before the booking confirmation clears their system. We also hoard millions of points as well and were super lucky they let us redeem and apply to our booking. I hope this helps clear up any information you may have heard or answers questions you have been seeking. Macon Little Britain, The mini bus was 15 euros per person for the 45 minute tour. The start point is about a 300-400 meter walk from the entrance to the port where the shuttle bus drops off at. Once outside the gate, just follow the blue path towards the city and you should see the stands just off to the right. Usually we keep some sort of info packet from the things we do to share, but this time we either lost it, (Which on this trip I was good at losing things) or we just didn't keep it. -Shane
  5. On our adventure so far we've covered: Boarding Day, Palermo and.....Palermo. That's as far as we've made it? We really are a couple of slackers. Anyways guess we will try to right that wrong and get another day pumped out. And the winner of our Guess Where We Are Going Next? Challenge is the fluffy white dog next to me, as she correctly guessed Cagliari, Sardegna. I may or may not have tried to lead anyone astray in the prior installment by mentioning Malta… Day 3, Cagliari Cagliari was probably our most anticipated port this trip. We have been wanting to get down there for awhile as we have heard great things about the area. We even planned a trip that would have taken us here by ferry the same week we spent on the Divina. Since we are generally do it yourself explorers, we just hopped off the ship and walked into the port area to see what we could do. Our only real goal for the day was to end up on a beach somewhere as the weather was excellent. Upon exiting the ship we saw a few vendors at the “Terminal” building, such as the local sightseeing bus company and a scooter/moped rental agency. The line for the bus was really long so hopped on the free shuttle that took you to the port entrance. We walked along the wharf area to where there were a series of other vendors selling their tours. There was a couple of sightseeing trams, a shuttle bus to some beach, and some souvenir stands. We decided to do this little electric open air mini bus. We almost did the train looking one that you can find in just about every city, but it had filled up by the time we got there. Glad we missed it, as the one we did was great. We were the first on, so we choice of seats, and naturally we took the rear facing row because it was basking in all the sunshine. Eventually the bus filled up with some British guests, then we went on our roughly hour long tour. The driver generally played a pre-recorded track, that sounded like it came from a self guided audio tour, but worked well enough. On occasion the driver would come over the speaker and gives us further info or would cover something not on the track listings. About halfway through the tour, we made our first stop at the Cathedral of Saint Mary of the Assumption and Saint Cecilia. After about a 10, maybe 15 minute break to see the inside, we then hopped back on drove down to a scenic overlook of the harbor area. Here the driver talked about some important landmarks, distances to other parts of Sardegna that we could see from there, as well as the large salt fields that produced sea salt as well as the importance of sea salt production to the history of the area. After this short break, we continued back through town, seeing most of the old city before arriving back to our starting point. From here we decided it was time for a beach break, but with a desire to see few more points along the way, such as the giant flamingo lagoon. So off we went on foot. This is the point where it became a painful reminder to always check the scale of the map you are using to navigate with, and that tourist maps probably are not to scale. So what seemed like a decent enough walk without being too bad turned into a walk that Google Maps was suggesting would take yet another hour to complete. Mistakes were made. Determined to make it to the beach yet, we just took the local bus system. Our first bus showed up promptly on time and dropped us of for our transfer on time, albeit it did seem weird that they have a bus stop on a major bridge, but the second bus never showed up. Other busses did, right on time, but not the one we were waiting for. I think it was the PE or the PF bus. Turns out both go in the same direction and make the same stops that we needed, so we hopped on the next PE/PF bus that came by. After the delay, we finally reached our goal of the beach. It was near deserted, probably because it was not quite beach season yet. Winds were a bit cool, but the sun kept us warm enough that we did not mind at all. There are a couple of restaurants along the beach and one beach resort that we saw that looked like it was in the middle of renovations. Much further along was an abandoned resort building, and not well kept buildings that looked like they belonged to the Carabineri or other Italian military branch. Close to the abandoned resort, there was an old stone tower, and close to the military buildings was what looked like a bunker from WW2 sinking into the sand right along the water. One could get into the bunker if you wanted to, but there was trash and smelled terrible. Made for an interesting photo opportunity. Mostly though, the beach area was empty. I presume in the summer it becomes well populated with pop up beach clubs, as it was way to nice of a beach to not be busy in the summer. After a while, our stomachs started to grumble and decided it was time to eat, as well as make our way back to the ship. Deciding that nothing along the beach sounded good, we caught the next bus back to the port area. Along the way we picked up a ton of high schoolers, so keep that in mind if you use the busses here when school is in session. We bought a few souvenirs, wine, as well as some salami and cheese before heading back to the ship. That Yacht Club privilege of skipping the line paid off well, as we completely avoided the long line reboarding midship by heading up the gang way forward, where the crew was loading baggage for embarking guests. Passed through security with no issues or confiscation of our wine, and then returned to our cabin. We dropped off our stuff, grabbed our books, then headed up to the pool deck to catch the tail end of lunch. After spending time eating and reading, we headed down to the lounge so Macon could continue to read, just out of the sunshine. About this time was all aboard so we figured the lounge would also be a great place to watch sailaway. I set up the GoPro and then join her in the lounge. After getting comfortable, a call came on the intercom: “Mike Echo Mike Echo Mike Echo, Deck 2, Crew Cabin 20##, Mike Echo Mike Echo Mike Echo, Deck 2 Crew Cabin 20##, Not a drill, I say again…” Macon and I exchanged glances and said that doesn’t sound good. But on a more positive note, the lounge was set up for afternoon tea service. Although we didn’t sit at a table initially set up for the service, when we asked a butler if we could do it at the table we selected, he said of course and brought over all the fixings. He asked us about which teas we would like describing each one, walked us through the process of steeping them, then brought over a little tower of finger sandwiches, cookies, and scones. He also brought over Devonshire cream and fresh strawberry jam. This brought back memories I have as a kid on Princess, as well as going out for afternoon tea with my English grandparents. Much better experience than on the Meraviglia. As we wrapped our tea service, another announcement came on from the cruise director, and she announced that due to a medical emergency involving a crew member, the ship would be delayed on departure until the crew member could be safely taken off the ship and to the hospital. Maybe twenty or so minutes after that, we left Cagliari. Now it was time to start planning for the evening, which meant a trip to the sports bar to see Miguel for pre dinner drinks, and of course, chicken nuggets. Tonight was Mediterranean Night, otherwise known as Italian or Red White and Green night. After another fantastic meal in Le Muse with our well seasoned waiter, Pepper, I mean Joel. So there was a bit of a mix up tonight in the restaurant, where somehow the staff seemed to think we were in a hurry to get out of there so they really tried revving up the speed of service. When we told them that was not the case, we all had a laugh and they seemed quite relieved. But good to know that the whole staff will seem to come together to help get you out quickly if needed, as it felt every staff member visited us that night in quick succession. My guess is someone overheard our plans to try to get to the theater earlier so that we could get better seats. After our dinner shenanigans, we headed down to the theater, but first made a quick pit stop at Cantina di Bacco for a glass of wine and to listen to the saxist play. Then we made our way to the theater, got much better seats in the center, and watched the pre-show entertainment. They had a member of the show staff walking around in a waiter’s getup with a tray that had a Limoncello glass, espresso cup and plate, some sugar packets, and a spoon. In his other hand he had a large bottle of Limoncello. He would walk up to unsuspecting guests either already seated or walking in, then “trip” and “spill” all of his contents. Luckily all were fake and attached by strings, but the reactions were real enough. Made for many laughs. Then there was staged one right when the cruise director began her welcome to the show speech. Treasure island was good, had the Pirates of the Caribbean feel. Easy enough story to follow, but somehow just didn’t mesh well. Much like the Mask show, it felt more as hodge-podge of the different elements rather than a seamless show. Much of the acrobat stunts seemed to be the same, or with little variation. Lip syncing was not as noticeable this show, but there were clearly times where it was happening. So far the shows have not been as impressive as we thought they would be, and prefered the ones on Meraviglia. After dinner we decided to see what else was going on, and listened to the duo playing in the La Luna Bar. Here we decided to also test the limits of the Yacht Club drink package. Since this is the mixology bar, all the fancy drinks were 12 euros. Before ordering we asked and at first the waitress was not sure. She said they should be, but wanted to double check. So we had no problem waiting, and she came back said we were good to order. So we did, and sure enough, our bill came out to a very nice goose egg. That doesn’t really help draw the line where and where not the Yacht Club drink package lies, but your nautical mile may vary. Then some walking around, another trip to the sports bar was in store. Miguel promised Macon an excellent dessert drink and he delivered. There was chocolate, bananas and some other secret ingredients, all blended up topped with whipped cream and cherries. With the drinks finished, it was time for bed, so off we went, but first we set out a room service breakfast order. Until next time..... -Shane and Macon Another beautiful day to come Our first views of the city Before we explore, gotta fill the tanks with Eggs Benedict And an omelette with cheese, mushrooms, bacon and ham. With bacon on the side. Already has a vibe far different than main land Italy Arch you glad for this pun Inside the old city walls Tiny little streets, would not want to drive them. This was taken from our seats on the mini bus Quick video of a trip down the road. Inside the Cathedral I will eat this dragon chicken The crypt, it goes even deeper Panorama of the city In the distance are the salt flats The narrative was talking about they would put heads of rebels on spikes along this tower. Wonder where Game of Thrones got their inspiration from Spiaggi del Poetto. Our first beach of our unofficial viaggi di spiaggia, or beach trips trip As you can see, we basically had it to ourselves. The abandoned resort and some of the military buildings The old bunker The inside of it Dog friendly beach! Wish we brought our pups Kite surfer getting ready to do his thing. Plenty windy enough that day The main teas for tea service And the delicious snacks that came with it Caprese that was excellent. Joel was here, you can tell by the just a little bit of pepper Minestrone Joel style The beef in chianti wine sauce Mixed seafood paella. Macon could not wait for paella this trip. But this dish almost ruined it for her, as it only tasted like green peppers. I think this was the only truly disappointing dish the entire trip. But made up for with a Limoncello cake dessert and glass of Limoncello And a special sundae made just for Macon featuring strawberry gelato, fresh strawberries, chocolate sauce and pineapple Since we have not shown off too much of the interior, here is the main atrium Mixology bar menu, note the price exceeds the 10 euro limit that the Yacht Club package caps at (BTW Strawberry Field is ah maze ing) And yet comes out to 0.00 We aren't going to argue And Miguel's fantastic dessert drink featuring chocolate, bananas, and passion fruit (Might of given away the secret ingredient) That is the best way to end this installment, much like it was the perfect night cap for us
  6. Divina was still pretty fresh from the American market when we sailed her. I don't believe I really could put it well into words, but she did still feel Americanized. There were just little touches around the ship that clearly felt she hadn't gotten into the European ways yet. We sure won't complain that the food in the sports bar was free, as it brought us back there many, many times. Although, if wasn't we might have spent more time elsewhere. Guess we will just have to go again. Overall it made for an interesting experience for us, from the mixture of crew who had been on pre-transatlantic versus the newer crew, and just the overall vibe of the ship. Really wish I could explain it better. -Shane and Macon
  7. Jagr The sundeck on Meraviglia is pretty open to the sun, although it does have these wind/sun breaks wrapping around the front. On the sides of the deck it is completely open, but they do have tables with umbrellas by the grill on the port side and cabanas on the starboard side if you need a break from the sun. On our cruise in December the weather wasn't the best for sunning, so didn't spend a whole lot of time out there. But I would say there's plenty of sun to be had -Shane and Macon
  8. Day 2, Palermo Guess we should have stated what our itinerary was in our first part. Or we could string you along on a day by day adventure. I kinda like the second one personally, keeps you on your toes. If this kind of daily surprise isn't your style, you can cheat and find the daily planner thread or google it. But wheres the fun in that? Now that that's out of the way, let's get into it. Anyone who has read either of our previous spins around the Med know we've been to Palermo before. This made it our second least anticipated port. So our day started with an earlier than expected morning, guess we just can't shake that work habit. After getting motivated, turned on the GoPro to catch the sunrise and arrival into Palermo, then wandered into the Top Sail Lounge for some coffees. Also decided that the breakfast buffet was enticing enough to just have breakfast there. We noticed at some point in the night, we gave Meraviglia the lead and she beat us into port. We'll get her next time. Before long, it was time for a massage. We had a comped one from playing the MyVegas Rewards games. Ended up costing a whopping 19.95 because I decided to add the hot stone upgrade. Probably one the best experiences I had on a ship yet. With almost no hard upsell afterwards, just a couple of recommendations for a follow on treatment. After the massage, Macon picked up a book from the library and was instantly hooked. Good for her, but not good for interesting conversation. Oh well, guess I will eventually get a book myself, but instead distracted myself by the goings on of these boards. Read up on the discussion about Yacht Club drink package and figured I happened to be in a good place to get an inside scoop. Eventually. With lunch approaching, we headed off to Le Muse. But since we were a bit early, grabbed a drink at the Garden Bar and soaked up some sun. After drinks it was lunch time. With most passengers ashore, the restaurant was practically empty. The meal was great, with the winning dish being a pasta made by the restaurant manager, Paulo. Afterwards it was back to drifting between the lounge and the pool deck, and then to the room for nap. When I woke up, I noticed that the air coming from the balcony had gotten considerably cooler, and then it promptly rained. So that makes it 3/3 trips to Palermo in which in rained while we were there. Does not bode well for Malta...But rain just means snack-o-clock in the lounge. Followed by a need to explore. And by that we mean we needed chicken nuggets. So off to the Sports bar! Best decision ever, as primarily it has the best chicken nuggets we've had on a cruise (Clearly we adult well), and also primarily met the best bartender we've had yet, Miguel. We made some sort of false promise before we boarded that we would try every drink on the menu. We instead settled on let's see how many off menu concoctions Miguel can make in 6 days. At some point I saw through the window a reflection from a puddle that the Meraviglia was pulling away, so had a hunch our time was coming up. So we went back to the room to get ready for dinner. We had sent in some express laundry earlier in the day, but it had not returned yet. We inquired with concierge and our butler, who then got on the laundry department to give it back. Once we finished getting all fancy for Gala night we watched our departure from Palermo. Except we weren't actually going anywhere except for slow circles. No idea why, no announcements were made, no helicopters, just a pilot boat coming out maybe an hour or so after doing lazy donuts. My best guess, the p`ilot boat crew went on extended coffee break, then had a "Aren't we forgetting something?" moment, then remembered they left the new guy on the cruise ship doing figure eights out in the front yard. So once the pilot showed up, we decided that it was time for dinner. John and Joel were ready for us, full of fun antics and great dinner recommendations. Tonight's menu was inspired by Michelin starred Chef Ramon Frexia. If you see this menu, we highly recommend the glazed pluma of Iberico pork. Arguably the highlight of the meal. Macon is still dreaming about that dish. We did have the first meh dish of the trip, which was the ox tail consomme. Even with loving a touch of pepper from Joel, it just seemed to lack flavor. Watered down would be the best way to describe it. Kinda sad as it was a favorite from past cruises. The rest of the meal made up for it so all was forgiven. Dinner service was bit slower than the night previous, but they were much busier. The staff was absolutely busting their butts in there, so it was not from a lack of trying. After dinner we dropped by the photo with the captain, then carried onto to see the show. It was one of three shows we said were must see, The Mask. We had seats down in the second row on the left side. Turns out these were not all that great, as a set piece of a street lamp kinda got in the way, as did having to constantly look up. The show was good, but was not the best. Didn't feel like it flowed well, plus not having seen the movie in awhile, forgot how the story was supposed to go. I did catch some pretty obvious lip syncing which was distracting to me, but maybe I am just being critical. (Being critical of an element of cruise? Man if they only had a website where one could do such things...) Elements of the show were fun, such as the guys doing the flips on the board and the acrobats. The actor playing the Mask character seemed to be having the most fun. After the show, we headed back to the lounge for some pre bed drinks and a little live music. After 11, the snack buffet is chocolate themed and made for a great post dessert dessert. Finally it was time to charge the GoPro and head off to bed. That's it for now, place your bets for when the next day drops and where our next port will be... -Shane and Macon Photo time, starting with the lounge's breakfast spread. You can also get toast here, and a butler will bring it to you. Massage treatment room Still not used to seeing her from this angle Lunch menu. Not on the menu was the special made by Paulo Parma ham and mozzarella pearls Sweetcorn Soup. Joel was here with the pepper Paccheri pasta with red sauce, the special of the day. Fantastic Udon noodles, different but good Flan dessert. This tasted like brownie batter and was awesome. Should have gotten more Next up, mid afternoon snacks I mentioned earlier I read the discussions about included drinks with the YC experience, so I took pictures of some menus with the intent of figuring out what was vs was not included. This page makes me think that this should be a standardized menu across the fleet in the Med. YNMMV Package info All the food in the sports bar is included, so thats a huge plus, cause we love us some chicken nuggers Sunset during sailaway I really can't wait to show off all the timelapses from the GoPro Insert Dinner menu photos, of which there are none... Food porn anyways Ox tail consomme Escargot Lobster bisque Steak Pluma of Iberico Pork Dessert menu, cause clearly my photo priorities were straight Fresh Crepes, Macon got Ice Cream again, so no new picture
  9. LB, After I typed that, I saw you posted a similar question on another thread, and had quite the duh moment. But because we didn't eat in either restaurant, it never crossed our minds to take pictures of the menus. And for as much as we like to say we know enough about MSC to our friends, I completely forgot that there were menus pared down for the Black status comps. I'm sure that will stay with me in the future as we are so close to black status. For the Eataly to Butchers Cut change, here is the thread I saw the information in. -Shane and Macon
  10. Sometimes life can be a real pain and just does not want you to plan ahead. So we had this brilliant idea post Symphony of the Seas, let's take a trip around the Greek Islands on the Jewel of the Seas just in time for our anniversary. It'll be great, with an amazing corner junior suite. Except work laughed in our faces and said sucks to suck nerds, but you have work to do that week and no vacation time for you. So we shift our plans to the second week of July, when work said we can take vacation time. So then we planned a trip on Seaview, until we got distracted by a river cruise option aimed at younger cruisers such as our selves. So why not? Well, not only did we change our minds, but work did as well. So now instead of two weeks vacation back to back, we instead get a week before Easter and the first week of July. But hey you might be going to a training class in April so good luck planning that. Oh but two days before that class, turns out you are not eligible to go, so better take that vacation with no time to plan for it. Luckily for me, Macon is like our private travel agent who just loves planning what if trips, and already had her eyes on the Divina for her first full lap around the Med. And since we got bitten by Yacht Club bug, we just haaaddddd to do it. So with less than a week to sail date, we are booked! But in a slight change for us, we are not embarking Genoa, instead we embarked in Civitavecchia. So now instead of a three hour train ride, we are now on an almost six hour ride. We boarded an Italo train from Verona to Roma Termini, then had a Regionale Veloce from Roma Termini to Civitavecchia. In classic fashion with most Regionale trains, ours was delayed by 15 mins. That was expected, what was not expected was the time it took for the platform to be announced. So eventually we made a mad dash from the main part of Roma Termini, to an off shoot of platforms. Us and everyone else on that very full train. So we had to push past everyone who was so worried about missing the train and swarmed the first few cars, as well as everyone who got off that train and the one that pulled in next to it at the same time. Once comfortably seated, the train took off and actually made up some time. By the time we left Roma Termini, we were thirty minutes late, but when we pulled into Civitavecchia we were only 15 minutes late. Short walk down to the fort, hopped on the free MSC shuttle, and off we went. First thing we noticed coming in was the ships in port. At the far end was the Queen Mary 2, then the Divina, behind her was an old friend, the Meraviglia. At the closest berth to the port entrance was a tiny old ship called the Berlin. What I thought was interesting, was that the Divina was berthed in front of the new terminal, and Meraviglia was berthed at smaller tent style terminal. Figured it would be the other way around, with Meraviglia being bigger and what not. So once we got off the bus, we didn't even get a chance to walk to the Yacht Club tent as a butler spotted our luggage tags immediately. So he had a junior butler take our bags then escorted us through the security area, up to the VIP check-in lounge. They took our boarding passes and passports and worked their magic. Before we even had a chance to pick seats in the lounge, we had drinks brought to us and a plate of cookies. Overall a much better first impression of the Yacht Club experience versus our trip in December. We were then escorted on board, through the ship, then up to the Concierge desk. Here we met Leandro, one of three awesome concierges and Idrias the Yacht Club Director. While we waited for our quick in brief, we got distracted by the huge library, well more so Macon did. Then we met our butler, Pravin, who took us to our room, 15011, which is super close to the private elevator and the concierge desk. After taking a brief moment to drop our carry on bags, our stomachs rumbled to remind us of how hungry we were. So, we took the private elevator up to 18, and went to see what the pool grill had to offer. We walked up to the grill station that was set-up, where the day's special was Fresh Fish (Salmon) Pasta of the Day, and a ribeye. So having eyes larger than our stomach we said one of everything, then went to see what was on the buffet. There was a salad bar setup, with fresh mozzarella balls, some grilled veggies, a rice of the day, and pork chops. After we loaded up the plates, sat down in the sun, ordered some drinks, then dug in. The food was amazing. Maybe it was because we were super hungry, but more likely it was just that damn good. Couldn't help but compare it to Meraviglia, and how so far, first impressions were much better on Divina. A re-occurring theme for most of the cruise. With full bellies, it meant we now had to explore the rest of the ship since we had time until muster. What a gorgeous ship. We've seen videos and photos but it just doesn't do it justice. Definitely can tell she is a bit of older ship, but it was not detracting at all to the experience. Also, couldn't help but compare to Meraviglia or Symphony in the sense that her layout waves you around the decks and does have the occasional dead end, where as the other two have the large centers in their decks to make for more straight forward navigating. But almost getting lost was half the adventure! Another thing that impressed us with Divina is the number of elevators. I believe there are four elevator banks, one forward, one at the atrium, one shortly aft of that and then the aft elevator. After exploring it was time for muster. Meraviglia definitely has the faster process here. One, bringing down your life jacket seemed to slow a lot of people down. Then after the alarm sounded, it took almost 15-20 minutes to start the actual talk through of what would happen during an actual emergency and how to put on the life jacket. The talk through seemed to go faster, as there was no Asian languages spoken this time. We waited a bit for the mad dash out of the muster station, then went up to our room to get ready for dinner. When we were ready, we went to Concierge to let them know we were ready for dinner. This step isn't mandatory, but was highly recommended. First so that your butler would show you the preferred route to Le Muse, Second so that restaurant host knew you were Yacht Club, and third so that they could confirm they had a table open for your party. On our way we met another American family also living in Europe who boarded in Marseille, and were having a great time, so it was fun to talk with them and learn a few of their favorite things. The path our butler took us on passed through the sports bar. The other Americans said they would split off so that they could order some chicken nuggets and what not for their kids who decided to stay in the room. Our butler insisted on letting him handle it, made the order, called their butler to come pick it up, and then made sure it got delivered to the stateroom. Even made arrangements between the parents and kids so that they knew room service was coming. Both parties were impressed by this and couldn't help but talk about it on the continued trip to Le Muse. They had sailed Disney previously and even there they hadn't that kind of service. In Le Muse, we met our waiters, John and Joel. These two were so very entertaining from the start. I'm sure in future editions we will mention them many, many times. Dinner service was great, I had probably the best pesto I have ever had, to include the pesto still to come in Genoa. After dinner we went to walk around until the day caught up to us and off to bed we went. So a random thought, but the oddest thing we think from this day is that we never got an embarkation day daily planner. By the time we commented on it to each other, it was bed time so we just let it ride. I think the only thing that would have made it disappointing is we had missed the Michael Jackson show, although we will never know. So that should wrap up this wall of text, now on to the pictures! -Shane and Macon We will start with our Cabin, 15011 The cabin as seen from the entrance Room set up Walk in Closet. So much storage space The balcony. A welcomed addition after the inside cabins. Nothing quite beats the fresh air and sunshine The only picture of that first lunch. Surprised I even got this, as I was so hungry. Left to right, Pork chops, Mozzarella balls in oil and seasonings, and proscuitto. Quick! To the Bat Ship! A familiar ship from an unfamiliar view Google Photos said my photo needed some style, so style! Love the look and size of this theater, The port side balcony is where there is Yacht Club reserved seating. Dinner Menu page 1 Page 2....Now food! The beef tartare. It was, um, interesting. Not bad, but not quite a texture I would want more of Tuscan Soup. With just a little bit of pepper. This will become a running joke all cruise THE. BESTO. PESTO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Seriously can not emphasize enough how amazing this dish was. I don't even think I added much parma cheese. Much The pan fried sea bream. Excellently cooked, seasoned, everything. And seemed so fresh. Not Shown, The swordfish. See above fish dish review Dessert Tiramisu. Creamy and amazing. Would not be the last time we get this Sometimes Macon is the more adult of the two of us, other times she's a large child who orders ice cream. Lots of ice cream I know it doesn't really look it, but that is the Meraviglia racing us to Palermo And the coast of Italy at night
  11. Cynm, You are most welcome. I am sure you will have a great time. If you swing by the Sport's Bar, be sure to say Hi to Miguel for us, and definitely rack his brain to make a great drink, both with and without alcohol. LB, We always seem so close yet so far when it comes to catching each other. And we feel this may be our last turn through the Med for sometime as we are due to return stateside next year. But maybe we'll catch you on a Caribbean cruise! But as for your questions, we did not eat at either Galaxy or Eataly. We chose not to as neither menu really appealed to us this time. Probably because we are spoiled with a local all you can eat sushi joint for the same price as the middle of the road sushi plate for Galaxy and we just haven't been too impressed with Eataly on land in the past. We almost had the pizza just outside Eataly in Cantina di Bacco as it smelled and looked amazing, but it was always right after dinner so food was far from our mind. We did hear that the pizza was amazing though. I do recall that both Eataly and Galaxy never seemed very busy, nor did I see people around the ship pushing the restaurants. If I recall, Eataly is due to become a Butchers Cut sometime this summer, but I don't believe there was a set date. I presume you mean Black Crab for the Black menu, in which case we did not. I did walk by once just to see what was on offer, and saw that it was very similar to Le Muse's menu in theme and maybe a dish or two, but had different main courses. While our card said we could eat there on the lower level, I overheard Concierge tell another couple that Black Crab was full and that it would be difficult to get a table there. Plus she seemed a bit confused why they would want to, until they explained they wanted to try simply because it was on the cruise card. And this spurred a memory from the same conversation that they tried Galaxy and were very pleased with it. For the Top Sail Lounge, it was all ages during the day. It may have been adults only in the late evening, or it was just coincidence that kids were just never in the lounge after 10. I hope that helps out a bit -Shane and Macon
  12. Cynm, The complimentary Adults only area is on Deck 15 aft, the Disaronno Garden Bar with the infinity pool. There is also a "hideaway area on dec 16, that you can access from the stairs by the Garden Bar with hidden hot tubs and plenty of loungers. Many people were not using this area, so may be a good option as well!! Macon and Shane
  13. Sorry should have led with that since not everyone may have seen the other threads, but yes, it was from Divinas first Civitavecchia to Civitavecchia loop
  14. Flag Fan, On the Divina, the restaurant is called Le Muse and the pool grill is simply The One Pool. I think because of the way it posted, all those pages got buried and are pretty easy as glancing/scrolling through they tend to look like the activities planner. Below is one of the hour pages again. Pretty sure the hours were the same all days of the week.
  15. Cynm, You are most welcome for those. Also we did check out the thermal area. No where near as good as the one on Meraviglia. Divina's thermal area consisted of a steam room with showers and two saunas. Both set-ups are duplicated, one designated for women and the other men. There is also a small relaxation room, with six loungers and floor to ceiling windows. As well as changing rooms. It was never really busy, but the loungers were almost always taken. Hope that helps a little Brighteyedwander, We did not join a meet and mingle, because I do not believe there was one. There was a roll call for our trip, but it had few posts and was not active at all. Plus scheduling one would be harder, as there is no real sea day on this itinerary. For the Italian theme night, it was called Mediterranean Night in the dining room, but else where on the ship it wasn't really advertised or made a big deal of. It was on night between Cagliari and Palma Other than limoncello being the drink of the night, and one of the entertainment staff was dressed in red/white/green bar staff vest pulling a spilling tray prank on guests in the theater prior to Treasure Island. Most of the theme nights were like this on this particular trip. We will mention it more when we write our full review. -Shane and Macon
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