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mini review of divina debut with links to dailys and photos

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Mini Review of MSC Divina from her three day US debut.

 

As you know I traveled on the Divina a year and a half ago out of Italy and absolutely adored the ship. We were in the Yacht Club and I will admit I did miss the exclusivity of being up there but the premium balcony we were in was still very nice. (We will be back in the YC in February so I can do apples to apples comparison of the YC in Italy vs. in the US)

 

The ship is in wonderful condition, I didn’t notice any wear at all from our trip on her sister ship the Preziosa this summer. There were a lot of changes made to adjust her to the American cruising public that I think people will be very happy about.

 

First and foremost smoking is greatly restricted! To be honest I didn’t notice much smoke on our previous cruise but it was very port intensive and we were not onboard as much as this cruise but I can say that the rules on this ship are very stringent! Smoking is only permitted in designated areas. That would be in the Cigar Lounge on deck six, outside the sky and stars library on deck 16 and on the port side of external decks. No smoking is allowed in staterooms or on stateroom balconies, nowhere near buffets, restaurants, medical centers, childcare areas, corridors, elevators, and foyers, public toilets, in the theatre, near any food service areas or in bars or any areas where groups are assembled for safety exercise, disembarkation or tour departures.

 

The shows have been brought up to a very high standard. The first night we watched Pirates-Billy Bones which was similar to a show we saw on the Preziosa which we loved. Do not miss it. Fantastic contortionists, balancing acts, huge shows of strength and great dancing! We adored the fireworks over Miami; it is a shame that was a onetime event as it was stunning. A new addition is a large screen entertainment “movies under the stars” that had great movies playing- also dueling pianos have been added. There was a hilarious comedian and impressionist the second night we adored and we spent some time at the late night white party. It had to be moved indoors due to the weather but I can imagine many people dancing the night away even if it was not up on deck. I on the other hand turn into a pumpkin at midnight lol.

 

A new experience we took part in is something I will certainly do again. It is called “winery at sea” only 16 people can sign up per session so if you are interested book early. On a three day cruise there was only one opportunity (three sessions) and I was thrilled we got in. The price is $15 per person or $25 per couple. You start out with four types of wine and do the typical tasting and notes but then the fun begins. Beakers are brought out and measuring droppers etc. We were put to the task to mix different percentages of the wines we liked best together to come up with our own favorite custom blend. It was very interesting how even a small percentage of a varietal could change the whole makeup of the glass. In the end if you were happy with your blend you could purchase a bottle made by your recipe with your own label. They even had a corking machine on board to finish the task. We bought two of my bottles and one of my husband’s (I am the better wine maker lol) the extra bottles were only $16.50 less than what was shown on the chart. We will be serving them for Christmas dinner.

 

The food was EXCELLENT! I know that is a pretty subjective statement but I have to admit I am a bit of a food snob. A new culinary team is in place from what I understand and it was absolutely delicious. I have never eaten in a main dining room on any cruise ship in years due to the fact I dislike the lackluster quality and have always opted to dine only in specialty restaurants. The first two nights we ate in the main dining room and the choices were plentiful and delectable. We had lunch there twice and I was taken aback how good the cuisine was. On debarkation day we dined in the main dining room which was a lovely alternative to muffins and such at the buffet. My husband enjoyed eggs benedict and it was such a “civilized” was to end our whirlwind tour.

 

Our last night we decided to dine in one of the two Eat Italy restaurants. One is a price fix menu and the other is a steakhouse ala carte. We dined in the steakhouse. Again, if you wish to eat there reservations are hard to come by so do it early. We had a wonderful meal; it cost us around $110 including the wine. (the wine served in this restaurant is not including in a drink package but our after dinner limoncello was) All I can say is the food brought me back to Italy and was cooked to absolute perfection, well worth the cost. I definitely will be eating there again in February. I overheard some people saying they did not care for the décor but I totally understood the clean lines and loved it. The staff was extremely attentive. There also is a nice little store that you can purchase authentic Italian pastas and condiments etc. I was very pleased to see that although MSC is “Americanizing” itself that they are still holding true to their Italian roots which is what sets them apart in my opinion from other lines. The amount of money that is put in just to the aesthetics on the ship is quite apparent, even our premium balcony cabin still had that feel of a boutique hotel that our Yacht Club suite did.

 

I did get a chance to view various cabins and was surprised how roomy even the inside cabins were. I visited an accessible cabin and there was a wheel in shower with a built in chair and even a ramp for the balcony. One of the first things I did was to check out the outlets in our cabin. There are both European 220 two prong outlets and standard USA 110 three prong ones. I have uploaded some of the photos I took along with the daily papers which can be found at the link below. One thing I will say that I thought was quite impressive was we were unable to tender into Great Stirrup Cay due to high seas and they sent out an updated schedule. On that schedule the were offering free Caribbean punch, complementary frozen cocktails, and complementary ice-cream (the Gelato is SO good). I have missed many ports on various sailings and have never been offered any “freebies” for the captain simply doing his job to keep us safe.

 

Another interesting insight. I have a severe allergy to poultry, life threatening. I have dealt with it my entire life and know when I have been exposed well in advance of becoming critical. One day I must have picked up some cross contamination. This can happen easier than most non allergic people know. Someone only had to be eating chicken and touched an elevator button and I could pick it up and get quite ill. As soon as my eye started to swell and I felt the scratch in my throat my husband and I got my epi pen. That staved off a major reaction but I knew I needed to see the doctor asap to get a steroid injection and an antihistamine shot. We went to the pursers desk and was told the doctor was out his rounds for another two hours. I explained that it was quite necessary that I see him ASAP and the person made a call, pausing to ask if I understood that I would have to pay additional for an out of hours charge. I am quite familiar with that as this has happened to me in the past and said I had no problem with an extra charge. We went right down to the doctor, I got my shots and was told to take a nap and stay out of the sun (like that would be a choice after an injection of antihistamine lol I was nodding off as soon as my head hit the pillow) but the point of this ramble was the out of office hours charge was only an additional $20! That impressed me immensely. I have been on another line to remain unnamed and was having a horrific reaction as I had ingested chicken broth due to a waiter not knowing the ingredients. The cost for that emergency visit was an additional $100 over the regular medical bill. Not gouging passengers goes a long way in my book when it comes to integrity!!

 

I wish the trip was longer and am waiting with baited breath to get back on her in February. As I said the Yacht Club is extraordinary, truly a ship within a ship, a special oasis- but being in the “general population” was quite pleasant. Here is a link to my scans and photos, I took a lot of pictures of bar menus so people could see what is included with the drink package. As long as there is not a star next to an item it is included. Definitely visit the Divina Bar and see Lesha (aka Big Mama) and Errol they are artists. Ask for the “Bellatini”- a drink we created in honor of my puppy lol.

any questions feel free to ask away

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Great review...brings back some great memories of that 3 night cruise

 

I wonder if "your" bartenders were new to MSC ?? Seems they made a good effort to hire staff from Royal, Celebrity etc :)

 

The winery at sea is really cool...they had that on the Poesia last spring too. I want to try that next time but didn't have "time" on the 3 nighter

 

Thanks for your pictures and uploads too

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Great review...brings back some great memories of that 3 night cruise

 

I wonder if "your" bartenders were new to MSC ?? Seems they made a good effort to hire staff from Royal, Celebrity etc :)

 

The winery at sea is really cool...they had that on the Poesia last spring too. I want to try that next time but didn't have "time" on the 3 nighter

 

Thanks for your pictures and uploads too

How that's something else I forgot to mention there is a big change in the make up of the staff. My two cruises from Italy on the Divina and the Preziosa which were both in the yacht club almost every employee on the ship was Italian a couple were from Madagascar are Peru maybe a handful from Brazil

On this Cruise the staff make up had definitely switched to be more in line with what Americans are used to a lot of people from Indonesia Asia Jamaica etc.

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Thanks for the report! I'll be in an accessible cabin (don't need the wheel in), but it's good to hear that they are of a good size.

 

They were VERY large and great attention to detail like the ramp both sides on the veranda.

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Thanks for the review and the photos are great!I am starting to get confused by the differing reviews, but I guess any review is subjective :)

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Thanks for the review and the photos are great!I am starting to get confused by the differing reviews, but I guess any review is subjective :)

 

Everything is in the eye of the beholder I guess I have not had time to even read or comment on others viewpoints. But I was quite impressed and this is only the second time out of close to 80 cruises I have not been on a suite so impressing me is difficult

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RE: Your comment:

We had a wonderful meal; it cost us around $110 including the wine. (the wine served in this restaurant is not including in a drink package but our after dinner limoncello was)

 

We have the Allegrissimo package and it was my understanding that wine was also available in the specialty restaurants (although it may be by the glass)...Was this not possible?

 

Did you happen to visit the martini bar? I'm wondering if the tasting was included in the Allegrissimo?

 

Any other problems using the Allegrissimo onboard? Was it on your card when you got it?

 

Thanks again.

Barbara

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We ordered high end wine which is not included in the package if there is a star by the drink it is not included but that was quite rare. We just wanted wine that matched the meal completely. No we didn't visit the martini bar as we just didn't have time in three days but did enjoy maartinis at the divina bar

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It's great to have a review and the associated images

 

For comparison i've copied "mydreamvacation's" link to the USA drinks list and included the link to my skydrive Mediterranean drinks list.

 

The USA list has a much more comprehensive range of cocktails and they are 17% cheaper.

Using today's exchange rate $1 = 0.74 euros

The average cocktail costs $7.25 (USA list) as against 6.25 Euros ($ 8.49) on the Med list

 

8.49/7.25 = 1.17

 

 

 

USA list link

 

Med list link

https://skydrive.live.com/?cid=1cdc327c72a4c6d9#cid=1CDC327C72A4C6D9&id=1CDC327C72A4C6D9%211189&v=3

 

 

I look forward to the comparison of the YC under USA and Med sailings

 

 

Pete

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Thanks for your very nice review and the link to your photos and daily programs, very nice too see. I'm glad that you had a good time onboard one of my favourite ships and I'm looking forward to hear about you future "americanised" Yacht Club experience.

 

Her is a teaser from YC onboard Divina :D

 

TopSailLounge_zps0a552fa1.jpg

 

msc333_zps8b6267d7.jpg

 

Melon art at the One Pool Bar:D

 

TheOnePool_zps542fa504.jpg

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It's great to have a review and the associated images

 

For comparison i've copied "mydreamvacation's" link to the USA drinks list and included the link to my skydrive Mediterranean drinks list.

 

The USA list has a much more comprehensive range of cocktails and they are 17% cheaper.

Using today's exchange rate $1 = 0.74 euros

The average cocktail costs $7.25 (USA list) as against 6.25 Euros ($ 8.49) on the Med list

 

8.49/7.25 = 1.17

 

 

 

USA list link

 

Med list link

https://skydrive.live.com/?cid=1cdc327c72a4c6d9#cid=1CDC327C72A4C6D9&id=1CDC327C72A4C6D9%211189&v=3

 

 

I look forward to the comparison of the YC under USA and Med sailings

 

 

Pete

I did a very indepth YC review from our Italy trip and intend to do the same in Feb with the addition of comparisons between the two itineraries. I do hope the Italian charm and elegance is preserved, the YC rated right up with the top lines I had ever sailed.

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Thanks for your honest review. The pictures and dailys are a big help. Some of the best posted to date. Really interested in the winery at sea.

 

The winery at sea was a definite highlight for me. Being Italian I have grown up with a love of wine and have attended 100's of wine tastings. This was completely unique learning how to custom blend what pleases your own pallet. I definitely will be doing it again in Feb. It was four reds we worked with a Cab a merlot a Syrah and a Zin. These were not blended wines like one would buy in a store (ie a merlot to be sold as Merlot only needs to have 50 percent merlot grapes in the bottle) interesting enough although I drink Merlot and Syrah/Shiraz from time to time and rarely drink cab or Zin those two grapes I enjoyed the most end after many combinations ended up with a 60/40 cab and Zin -not saying which one was higher to influence others. I would love to see them do a setting with Italian grapes. My favorite wines are Nero d avola. Montepuchiano Sangiovese and chianti Classico (which I know has Sangiovese in it) if I were in charge I would have multiple sessions with focus on different grapes of the world. Of course that is probably why I end up shipping home at least a case of wine from Italy each year and bring back another six or so bottles in our luggage. Probably the only person who travels with two gallon zip bags and bubble wrap lol

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Thanks for your very nice review and the link to your photos and daily programs, very nice too see. I'm glad that you had a good time onboard one of my favourite ships and I'm looking forward to hear about you future "americanised" Yacht Club experience.

 

Her is a teaser from YC onboard Divina :D

 

TopSailLounge_zps0a552fa1.jpg

 

 

msc333_zps8b6267d7.jpg

 

Melon art at the One Pool Bar:D

 

TheOnePool_zps542fa504.jpg

NC you must join us sometime

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something else I just thought of while looking through some of my photos, I haven't had a lot of time to go through them all with getting caught up with work and Thanksgiving but in my cabin at least the balcony was set up to be able to have the divider opened. There is the circle key hole but also two built in latches to keep them open which would be great for families traveling together with side by side balconies. I just uploaded those photos

http://www.flickr.com/photos/yourdreamvacation/?saved=1

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Mini Review of MSC Divina from her three day US debut.

 

As you know I traveled on the Divina a year and a half ago out of Italy and absolutely adored the ship. We were in the Yacht Club and I will admit I did miss the exclusivity of being up there but the premium balcony we were in was still very nice. (We will be back in the YC in February so I can do apples to apples comparison of the YC in Italy vs. in the US)

 

The ship is in wonderful condition, I didn’t notice any wear at all from our trip on her sister ship the Preziosa this summer. There were a lot of changes made to adjust her to the American cruising public that I think people will be very happy about.

 

First and foremost smoking is greatly restricted! To be honest I didn’t notice much smoke on our previous cruise but it was very port intensive and we were not onboard as much as this cruise but I can say that the rules on this ship are very stringent! Smoking is only permitted in designated areas. That would be in the Cigar Lounge on deck six, outside the sky and stars library on deck 16 and on the port side of external decks. No smoking is allowed in staterooms or on stateroom balconies, nowhere near buffets, restaurants, medical centers, childcare areas, corridors, elevators, and foyers, public toilets, in the theatre, near any food service areas or in bars or any areas where groups are assembled for safety exercise, disembarkation or tour departures.

 

The shows have been brought up to a very high standard. The first night we watched Pirates-Billy Bones which was similar to a show we saw on the Preziosa which we loved. Do not miss it. Fantastic contortionists, balancing acts, huge shows of strength and great dancing! We adored the fireworks over Miami; it is a shame that was a onetime event as it was stunning. A new addition is a large screen entertainment “movies under the stars” that had great movies playing- also dueling pianos have been added. There was a hilarious comedian and impressionist the second night we adored and we spent some time at the late night white party. It had to be moved indoors due to the weather but I can imagine many people dancing the night away even if it was not up on deck. I on the other hand turn into a pumpkin at midnight lol.

 

A new experience we took part in is something I will certainly do again. It is called “winery at sea” only 16 people can sign up per session so if you are interested book early. On a three day cruise there was only one opportunity (three sessions) and I was thrilled we got in. The price is $15 per person or $25 per couple. You start out with four types of wine and do the typical tasting and notes but then the fun begins. Beakers are brought out and measuring droppers etc. We were put to the task to mix different percentages of the wines we liked best together to come up with our own favorite custom blend. It was very interesting how even a small percentage of a varietal could change the whole makeup of the glass. In the end if you were happy with your blend you could purchase a bottle made by your recipe with your own label. They even had a corking machine on board to finish the task. We bought two of my bottles and one of my husband’s (I am the better wine maker lol) the extra bottles were only $16.50 less than what was shown on the chart. We will be serving them for Christmas dinner.

 

The food was EXCELLENT! I know that is a pretty subjective statement but I have to admit I am a bit of a food snob. A new culinary team is in place from what I understand and it was absolutely delicious. I have never eaten in a main dining room on any cruise ship in years due to the fact I dislike the lackluster quality and have always opted to dine only in specialty restaurants. The first two nights we ate in the main dining room and the choices were plentiful and delectable. We had lunch there twice and I was taken aback how good the cuisine was. On debarkation day we dined in the main dining room which was a lovely alternative to muffins and such at the buffet. My husband enjoyed eggs benedict and it was such a “civilized” was to end our whirlwind tour.

 

Our last night we decided to dine in one of the two Eat Italy restaurants. One is a price fix menu and the other is a steakhouse ala carte. We dined in the steakhouse. Again, if you wish to eat there reservations are hard to come by so do it early. We had a wonderful meal; it cost us around $110 including the wine. (the wine served in this restaurant is not including in a drink package but our after dinner limoncello was) All I can say is the food brought me back to Italy and was cooked to absolute perfection, well worth the cost. I definitely will be eating there again in February. I overheard some people saying they did not care for the décor but I totally understood the clean lines and loved it. The staff was extremely attentive. There also is a nice little store that you can purchase authentic Italian pastas and condiments etc. I was very pleased to see that although MSC is “Americanizing” itself that they are still holding true to their Italian roots which is what sets them apart in my opinion from other lines. The amount of money that is put in just to the aesthetics on the ship is quite apparent, even our premium balcony cabin still had that feel of a boutique hotel that our Yacht Club suite did.

 

I did get a chance to view various cabins and was surprised how roomy even the inside cabins were. I visited an accessible cabin and there was a wheel in shower with a built in chair and even a ramp for the balcony. One of the first things I did was to check out the outlets in our cabin. There are both European 220 two prong outlets and standard USA 110 three prong ones. I have uploaded some of the photos I took along with the daily papers which can be found at the link below. One thing I will say that I thought was quite impressive was we were unable to tender into Great Stirrup Cay due to high seas and they sent out an updated schedule. On that schedule the were offering free Caribbean punch, complementary frozen cocktails, and complementary ice-cream (the Gelato is SO good). I have missed many ports on various sailings and have never been offered any “freebies” for the captain simply doing his job to keep us safe.

 

Another interesting insight. I have a severe allergy to poultry, life threatening. I have dealt with it my entire life and know when I have been exposed well in advance of becoming critical. One day I must have picked up some cross contamination. This can happen easier than most non allergic people know. Someone only had to be eating chicken and touched an elevator button and I could pick it up and get quite ill. As soon as my eye started to swell and I felt the scratch in my throat my husband and I got my epi pen. That staved off a major reaction but I knew I needed to see the doctor asap to get a steroid injection and an antihistamine shot. We went to the pursers desk and was told the doctor was out his rounds for another two hours. I explained that it was quite necessary that I see him ASAP and the person made a call, pausing to ask if I understood that I would have to pay additional for an out of hours charge. I am quite familiar with that as this has happened to me in the past and said I had no problem with an extra charge. We went right down to the doctor, I got my shots and was told to take a nap and stay out of the sun (like that would be a choice after an injection of antihistamine lol I was nodding off as soon as my head hit the pillow) but the point of this ramble was the out of office hours charge was only an additional $20! That impressed me immensely. I have been on another line to remain unnamed and was having a horrific reaction as I had ingested chicken broth due to a waiter not knowing the ingredients. The cost for that emergency visit was an additional $100 over the regular medical bill. Not gouging passengers goes a long way in my book when it comes to integrity!!

 

I wish the trip was longer and am waiting with baited breath to get back on her in February. As I said the Yacht Club is extraordinary, truly a ship within a ship, a special oasis- but being in the “general population” was quite pleasant. Here is a link to my scans and photos, I took a lot of pictures of bar menus so people could see what is included with the drink package. As long as there is not a star next to an item it is included. Definitely visit the Divina Bar and see Lesha (aka Big Mama) and Errol they are artists. Ask for the “Bellatini”- a drink we created in honor of my puppy lol.

any questions feel free to ask away

Love the colors of your room what room # were you in?

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