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Delighted by DIVINA? Find out!

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Delighted by DIVINA?

 

 

Link to almost 400 ship photographs including daily programs and beverage menus:

https://www.flickr.com/photos/eroller/sets/72157643234679793/

 

 

Most North Americans have never heard of MSC Cruises, even those familiar with the cruise industry. MSC is looking to change all that, and the MSC DIVINA is a key component of that strategy. She is one of the newest and largest ships of the MSC Cruises fleet, and she has been dedicated to year-round cruising out of Miami. This move is quite a bold statement regarding MSC's future ambitions in North America, competing with industry giants such as Carnival, NCL, and Royal Caribbean. The fact is, MSC Cruises is no small potatoes. They are enormous in Europe with some twelve ships and two newbuilds coming down the pipeline. In terms of overall marketshare they are neck and neck with NCL at least for the moment. MSC has actually held a presence in North America for years, but only on a seasonal basis and with limited advertising it was very much a niche operation. Along with DIVINA's arrival came significant planning, expansion, and marketing to ensure she is a success. Per diems are actually quite low for the moment which is not surprising for a relative unknown entering the market. I expect that to change as word gets out and MSC's sales and marketing efforts in North America take hold. To compliment the efforts shoreside, significant changes to DIVINA's onboard programming were implemented to appeal to North American tastes while retaining the Mediterranean flair and style that MSC Cruises is renowned for. Some of those changes include a broadened variety of buffet options along with expanded hours; hiring bands, entertainers, and musicians with a greater North American appeal; serving water at mealtimes; enhanced smoking restrictions; adding the option of coffee after dinner; serving the salad prior to the main course; changing signage around the ship; and adding a phone app where you can check the daily activities as well as your shipboard account. I'm sure there have been countless other changes, tweaks, and enhancements as well, and these have all added up to a very enjoyable atmosphere onboard where I think both North Americans and Europeans would feel equally at home.

 

If I were to choose one aspect of DIVINA that impressed me most, it would be the entertainment. DIVINA truly is a ship of music, and I don't recall any other ship where I have encountered such a great variety of live music. This is especially refreshing when many other lines are cutting back on live music and replacing it with far less expensive DJ's. If I want DJ's I can listen to the radio! A typical evening of music on DIVINA might look something like this. Classical music in the Atrium, a lively duo in the Piazza, a piano singer in La Luna Piano Bar, a Latin Trio in the Black & White Lounge, a solo sax player up in Galaxy, Dueling Pianos in the Golden Jazz Bar, a DJ in the disco, and a wonderful solo guitarist and singer (my favorite) under the stars at the Garden Bar. Not to be outdone by all the music, the evening's live production shows are second to none. They are truly a feast for the senses with an extremely large cast featuring the usual singers and dancers, but also acrobatics and illusionists. Dialog is kept to a minimum to appeal to an International audience, and in its place is a visual blowout that captivates you from start to finish. My personal favorite was called Wonderland, but the audience favorite seemed to be Starwalker. All the shows received a standing ovation which is something you rarely see on a cruise ship these days. One evening there were actually two different shows, with the second being a condensed version of the opera La Traviata. I thought it was fantastic and something I never expected to see on a mass-market cruise ship sailing the Caribbean. In my experience, the only cruise ship shows comparable to MSC DIVINA have been on Disney and certain Broadway performances on Royal Caribbean. To showcase these incredible shows, the Pantheon Theater is an impressive facility. State of the art sound and lighting along with impressive hydraulic stage lifts. Audience seating is comfortable with hardly a bad seat in the house. There are two aisles down the center and two more along the sides. This is something I never thought of much before, but after sailing on ROYAL PRINCESS where the side aisles have been eliminated I realize how important they are. If there was one truly unexpected delight regarding my experience on DIVINA it was the music and entertainment!

 

The DIVINA herself is an extremely attractive vessel. Her decor is more European in flavor with a lot of suede fabrics in muted tones of grey, rust, orange, and brown. This is accented by lots of shiny surfaces such as marble and chrome. The result somehow reminded me of the 80's and perhaps it is not entirely to my taste, but it works quite well for a mass-market cruise ship and everyone I encountered raved about how beautiful the ship is. Decor aside, the layout is exceptional and the variety and quantity of lounges and bars is almost unprecedented. I believe there are 22 different bars onboard DIVINA which is surely enough to satisfy anyones thirst no matter where they are on the ship. There are four separate stair towers and 17 passengers elevators to get you where you need to go with ease. This bucks the trend of many large ships with only two stair towers and also being underserved by the amount of elevators available. My March 22, 2014 sailing was a full ship, and I was informed the sailing was at the highest capacity since the ship started sailing from Miami. I rarely felt crowded with the exception of the dining room. Here the space is simply too small for all the tables and chairs, which meant cramped seating and waiters that simply could not perform their duties adequately as they could not squeeze between all the chairs to serve properly. Deck chairs and deck space are at a premium during sunny sea days, but this is the norm on every mass-market ship these days. DIVINA actually has quite expansive outer decks and a massive amount of loungers. You can certainly find one even on the busiest of days provided you're ok with not being directly next to one of the pools. There are four pools onboard, each one part of a unique area. The Aqua Park is the main outdoor pool area. It's very attractive and includes a large pool with smaller wading areas along with a large video screen. It's the most active outdoor area on the ship. Le Sirene is adjacent to the Aurea Spa and it's a large pool with a retractable glass roof making it appealing in any weather condition. All the way aft is the Garden Pool with fantastic views over the stern. This was designed to be an infinity type pool with water reaching the aft glass windshields, but the pool was never filled high enough for that to be a reality which is a shame. The Garden Pool is the most quiet onboard with the exception of The One Pool, which is all the way forward and reserved exclusively for Yacht Club guests. Top 19 is a fairly new concept for MSC. It takes the open deck space above Galaxy Nightclub (there is no shade) and turns it into an exclusive sun deck for adults only. There is a daily charge to use this space. The problem is that it doesn't feel very exclusive. There is no bar, no shaded areas, and the deck chairs and towels are the same as those used on the rest of the ship. Upgrade the loungers and linens and offer some exclusive bar services and this concept could really be successful. Princess Cruises does it right with the Sanctuary and even Carnival's free version called Serenity is a step up from what MSC is offering. Also topside is the Aurea Spa. MSC Cruises is one of the only lines that doesn't concession its spa to either Steiner Leisure or Canyon Ranch. They use a different concessionaire and while I didn't purchase a spa treatment, I did tour the facility and used the gym several times. The spa is very attractive and the gym offers all the bells & whistles along with great views. One unique feature of the spa is a bar and lounge area offering a variety of smoothies for the health conscious. Lacking are complimentary facilities such as steam and sauna, and even lockers, changing rooms, and showers. These all exist of course, but MSC recently changed their policy and there is now a charge to use any of these facilities. I hope they reconsider this policy.

 

Standard cabins on DIVINA are a delight and I was impressed when I walked into 8091. The cabin seemed wider and longer than average, with a very pleasing decor & color scheme, and plenty of storage. A full size couch along with a very comfortable king bed made relaxing and sleeping an easy task. MSC uses a bed topper so there is absolutely no space between the two twin beds when connected to form a king. There is an interactive TV with a variety of on demand movies for a fee, but unfortunately no free movies and no viewing of your shipboard account. A safe and mini-bar along with two US style outlets round out the standard amenities. The balcony was a nice size and included two chairs and a table. The bathroom is unique in that the shower doors are glass and can be folded into the shower when not in use creating more room in the remaining space. Bath amenities include a shower cap along with liquid soap and shampoo. Even at the sink there is a dispenser for liquid soap and there is no bar soap available except in the Yacht Club staterooms. Storage space inside the bathroom is excellent with shelving above and below the sink. Like many new ships, a key card must be inserted into a slot by the door to activate the cabin power. Unique to MSC DIVINA is that the card also activates a small light outside your door letting your cabin steward know if you're inside or outside the cabin. This worked very well and our cabin steward did an excellent job making up the cabin without us ever knowing he was present. Missing at night were chocolates on the pillow and the towel animals you see on so many lines these days.

 

Food and service overall were quite good. I found the staff to be very accommodating and at all times friendly. "Jane from Ukraine" was a favorite and interacting with her daily at the Caffe Italia was a highlight. What a fantastic person and a true asset to MSC Cruises. As mentioned earlier the variety of bars onboard DIVINA are quite impressive, but so are the menus that accompany the bars. Each bar has its own menu and besides the standards, different speciality drinks can be found at each bar. It makes bar hopping onboard DIVINA that much more fun and interesting! We dined at late seating on the lower level of the Black Crab dining room. Unsuccessful in obtaining a table for two (they are very limited), we really enjoyed our new friends and table mates at a table for eight. The dining room itself is unremarkable and again seating is just too crowded. I enjoyed all my meals and service was excellent. The staff really did a nice job considering how crowded everything was. We dined a few times at the aft Villa Rossa restaurant for lunch, and I found this dining room to be the more attractive of the two. Both serve the exact same menu. Topside is the Calumet & Manitou buffet restaurants. The layout is excellent and finding an open table was never a problem even at peak times. The variety and presentation of food was excellent, and MSC's efforts in making this space more appealing to North Americans has really paid off. Something I have never seen on a ship before is individually wrapped burgers like you would get at a fast food restaurant. I really liked the burgers and the presentation is far superior to a large tin of burgers sitting in grease like you see on many ships. The fries as well were presented in individual containers again making a very nice presentation. Additional dining options include limited room service, the sports bar, Pizza Eataly, Piazza del Doge for gelato, Galaxy Restaurant, Ristorante Italia, and Eataly Steakhouse. All these additional venues required a charge except for room service during regular hours. We dined at Pizza Eataly one evening for truly authentic Napoli style pizza crafted by a chef from Napoli! It was excellent. Another evening we dined at Eataly Steakhouse, which along with Galaxy are the premium speciality restaurants onboard. At Eataly our steaks were superb and service was excellent, but the physical space lacked any ambiance and felt more like a bright cafeteria. The basic surroundings didn't do justice to the excellent cuisine. This might explain why the space appeared empty every night. I think in general people are willing to pay extra for a special meal onboard, but they want a special ambiance that matches the quality and presentation of the meal itself. In this respect Eataly Steakhouse was a failure.

 

This cruise was to the Western Caribbean and the ports included Falmouth, Jamaica; Grand Cayman; Cozumel; and Great Stirrup Cay in the Bahamas. We never actually made it to Great Stirrup Cay as the seas were too rough for tender operations. MSC did a great job organizing embarkation and disembarkation in all these ports including Miami. Lines were never a problem and plenty of information was always available from a variety of sources to answer any questions. My only suggestion would be limit tender announcements to specific public areas of the ship and not broadcast them in cabin corridors. Having to listen to tender announcements every 15 minutes starting at the early AM hours while trying to have a sleep-in during vacation is not relaxing. MSC does use a silent disembarkation process for final disembarkation in Miami and it's an excellent process. Depending on your disembarkation arrangement, you are assigned a meeting place and time. You are collected from the lounge and led to the gangway when it's your time to disembark and there are no announcements over the PA. It would be great if a modified version of this process could be used for tender operations in ports like Grand Cayman.

 

There are many aspects of the MSC experience that really stood out as exceptional for me. Some have been mentioned earlier in this review, but I would like to recap and present some that I have not touched on yet.

- quick embarkation and disembarkation

- buffet layout, selection, and presentation (especially those burgers and fries!)

- coffee bar selection and service

- exceptional beverage menus

- fantastic shower door design

- excellent wifi speed and connectivity all over the ship

- MSC Traveler phone app for use while onboard DIVINA

- amazing, second to none entertainment with WOW factor!

- variety, quality, and availability of live music

- excellent Cruise Director, Cruise Staff, and entertainers

- fantastic ship layout and design

- wonderful variety of pools and availability of deck space

- state of the art fitness center with fantastic views

- super friendly crew with many staff that went above and beyond

- excellent air conditioning throughout the ship and cabin

- creative light outside the cabin to indicate occupancy to the cabin steward

- excellent gift shop merchandise selection - well beyond what most ships offer

 

 

There are always opportunities for improvement and MSC Cruises is no exception. I wouldn't call any of these suggestions deal breakers, but they are areas that I feel MSC Cruises could improve upon. One in particular I would like to touch upon. I don't normally cruise on mass-market lines in March due to the excessive number of kids, but for reasons beyond my control I ended up on a March cruise. As expected there were a massive number of kids onboard, in part due to most South Florida public schools being on Spring Break this week, but also because of MSC's "kids sail free" promotion. According to the crew it was the most amount of kids onboard since the ship arrived in Miami, and believe me there was no escaping them anywhere on the ship. Even on Disney Cruise Line where hundreds of kids are present on every cruise, the "kid factor" is much less in your face. Why is this? Two reasons. One is that Disney has an excellent children's program that keeps the kids well occupied. Two is that there are dedicated adults areas that are actually enforced. On the DIVINA, day or night you could not escape the kids whether it be in any of the pools topside or yes even in the nightclub at 1am! All three of the main pools on DIVINA became a massive kiddie playground from morning to dusk and there was no way to escape them if you wanted a swim. My suggestion to MSC Cruises is to create at least one adults-only pool (The Garden Pool would be an excellent choice) as well as a lounge or two in the evening and actually enforce the policy. Without question kids (under 18) should not be allowed in the nightclub after 11pm, and to see little kids running all over the place at 1am was alarming. Other cruise lines check ID's at the door to the nightclubs and perhaps MSC should do the same. It's not a safe environment for the kids, and frankly as an adult I have no interest in seeing small kids running around a nightclub at 1am. You might ask where are the parents, but that is worthy of a review of its own!

 

Some other areas of opportunity that may or may not have been touched upon in the review include:

- excessive tender announcements in cabin corridors

- only one towel stand on the entire ship. The Garden Pool needs its own or better yet, do away with this restrictive policy

- no pillow chocolates or evening towel animals

- no complimentary movies on TV

- dining rooms are too crowded to experience an elegant meal and service

- aft Garden Pool should be adults only

- Top 19 needs a bar and upgraded amenities to justify the cost

- Eataly Steakhouse has excellent cuisine and service but lacks any ambiance

- no complimentary lockers, showers, steam or sauna in the gym

- room service menu is very limited

- PLEASE create some adults-only areas and ENFORCE them!

 

 

So to answer my initial question, "Delighted by DIVINA?", I would say yes, I truly was. MSC Cruises has done a marvelous job bringing this beautiful ship to Miami for year round cruises. The ship will absolutely appeal to North Americans as well as a worldwide clientele, offering an experience that is slight different in a positive way, with a certain Mediterranean style and flair that is lacking on the competition. A few more tweaks and enhancements and the product will actually exceed most of the competition in almost every respect. Best of luck to MSC Cruises in this well established market, and for those of you with a passion for music and entertainment looking for something just a little different, I encourage you to book MSC DIVINA. Bon Voyage!

 

Ernie

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Eroller,

Thank you so much for the wonderful review which provides many valuable information. I really appreciated for many beautiful pictures and the newest daily programs. I can not wait for my first MSC cruise on May!!;)

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Great review and photos and there is a towel guy in the garden pool right next to the bar.

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Totally agree with you ! The best entertainment ever ! Amazing shows ! Good food and stunning ship ! I'm going back and taking my whole family to this amazing ship !

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Great review and photos and there is a towel guy in the garden pool right next to the bar.

 

 

Glad you enjoyed the review. Nope, no towel stand by the Garden Pool, at least not when I was there (port days). In fact I asked the bartender at the Garden Bar where I could get a towel, and he directed me to the Aqua Pool where there was one stand only on the starboard side. Perhaps on sea days there are more towel stands, but I avoided the open decks on those days. Too crowded.

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One other positive I forgot to include in the review is just how clean and spotless the MSC DIVINA was. This is no small feat on a typical sailing, but on this sailing with something like 1000 kids onboard it was a true miracle! Tables in the buffet were always clean, I didn't see empty beer bottles and glasses sitting on stairways and floors (like on some lines that shall remain nameless), nor did I see cabin corridors filled with nasty and dirty room service trays (again like on the same nameless cruise line). This was really impressive and the staff onboard did an amazing job making the MSC DIVINA always look spotless and inviting!

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- no complimentary lockers, showers, steam or sauna in the gym

 

This was available for free on my cruise. The showers and locker room were definitely free by the gym.

 

Wonder why they would change that. Did you get a price for those?

 

 

I can't remember the last time I got chocolate on RCCL, and my last Celebrity no chocolates. I did have a towel animal one night.

 

Btw great review a pics.

Edited by Bosjoe

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Great review and photos and there is a towel guy in the garden pool right next to the bar.

 

That was true on sea days. For some reason I did not have to sign out as the guy said I had the premium drink package and I didn't need to worry about towels.

Edited by Bosjoe

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- no complimentary lockers, showers, steam or sauna in the gym

 

This was available for free on my cruise. The showers and locker room were definitely free by the gym.

 

Wonder why they would change that. Did you get a price for those?

 

 

I can't remember the last time I got chocolate on RCCL, and my last Celebrity no chocolates. I did have a towel animal one night.

 

Btw great review a pics.

 

 

 

Glad you enjoyed the review and pics.

 

Yes the showers, lockers, steam, and sauna were complimentary on MSC DIVINA not too long ago. I'm not sure of the exact cruise where the changeover occurred. Now there is a charge to use any of the facilities, and all the doors leading to these areas have restricted signs on them. I can't recall the exact charges, but maybe something like $59 for the cruise? They didn't have a day rate which was odd, and instead it was something like $16 for one hour use. I can't imagine too many taking them up on that offer. The reason I think is obvious. It's another revenue source for the spa and this is the policy most cruise lines have already adopted, at least with their newest ships. Another reason is that by having a charge it limits the use and prevents crowding (that will be the official cruise line response I assure you).

 

Royal Caribbean eliminated nightly chocolates some years ago. It's still done on Celebrity. Just sailed on the CONSTELLATION in February and they were there every night. Not a big deal to me but worth mentioning. As cruise lines become more and more similar from a hardware standpoint, it's the attention to detail that really makes the difference. All the little nice touches add up and cruise lines should not lose sight of that.

 

Ernie

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Thanks for the detailed review! Do you recall how late the nightclub stayed open on your cruise?

 

I just returned from the March 15th sailing and the sauna and steam room were NOT free. They were charging $16 for ONE hour and $25/ couple for ONE hour. There was a weekly pass available for I think, $99.

 

The above is from a recent pax

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Thanks for the detailed review! Do you recall how late the nightclub stayed open on your cruise?

 

 

 

 

 

Quite late but I don't know exactly. 2:30am is about as late as I stayed one night, and even then there were some little kids running around which was beyond annoying.

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Quite late but I don't know exactly. 2:30am is about as late as I stayed one night, and even then there were some little kids running around which was beyond annoying.

 

Thanks, hopefully, they will put someone at the door to card pax.

 

I really love your night time sail away pics. Miami looks so nice all lit up.

 

I was surprised to see that they still require lifejackets worn during the muster drill,I thought all the lines stopped doing that a couple of years ago.

Edited by TwizzlersAddict

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Great review, and I love the pictures. I have some questions, if you don't mind?

 

You mentioned the pizzaria. Is there a fee for that? Is there any free pizza available? (Not that I go on cruises to eat pizza, but my husband loves it). In general, how was the food?

 

Also, you mentioned no free movies on the TV. What kind of stations did they have? Was there at least a nice variety (i.e. something to watch at night before falling asleep)?

 

One more question - I see that the ship doesn't sail until 7pm. How early can you board?

 

Thank you so much, I appreciate it.

- Sharon -

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Great review, and I love the pictures. I have some questions, if you don't mind?

 

You mentioned the pizzaria. Is there a fee for that? Is there any free pizza available? (Not that I go on cruises to eat pizza, but my husband loves it). In general, how was the food?

 

Also, you mentioned no free movies on the TV. What kind of stations did they have? Was there at least a nice variety (i.e. something to watch at night before falling asleep)?

 

One more question - I see that the ship doesn't sail until 7pm. How early can you board?

 

Thank you so much, I appreciate it.

- Sharon -

 

 

Hi Sharon,

Glad you enjoyed the review. Yes free pizza by the slice is available in the buffet and it's pretty good. There is a separate Pizzeria that makes truly authentic Napoli style pizza and there is a charge for that. No pizza by the slice there, only full pies.

 

The TV stations were ok. I think it was CNN, HLN, and TCM as the main English channels. Then they had a couple in Spanish, one in German, French, and Italian. There were also the ship specific channels such as ship position, info about the cruise, morning show, etc. They do show a nightly movie outside under the stars on the big screen.

 

We boarded the ship around 1:30pm and many had boarded prior to that. There was no line or waits at 1:30 so that worked out perfectly. Cabins were not ready until 2pm and they made an announcement in that regard. I'm guessing the general boarding probably started around 12 noon or 12:30pm.

 

Ernie

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Thank you so much for posting all of this info. I really appreciate all of the photos and the dailies and menus :) Looks like you had a great cruise

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eroller, I was on the same cruise as well as the week before. How in the world did you get such great shots minus people? Did you have special access to areas before everyone boarded? MSC should hire you as their PR guy. Awesome pictures and I will be sure to bookmark them for future use. Thanks for your time for this wonderful review.

Smooth seas!!

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eroller, I was on the same cruise as well as the week before. How in the world did you get such great shots minus people? Did you have special access to areas before everyone boarded? MSC should hire you as their PR guy. Awesome pictures and I will be sure to bookmark them for future use. Thanks for your time for this wonderful review.

Smooth seas!!

 

 

I've found the very best time for photographs without people is right around 11am on a port day. Breakfast is finished and it's before lunch, and most people are ashore and even those spending only an hour or so ashore are not back yet. It's a strategy that has served me well! LOL

 

I'm glad you enjoyed the review. Just curious since you were on a back-to-back cruise, were there fewer kids on the previous cruise and did the atmosphere onboard feel different or change much between cruises?

 

Thanks!

 

Ernie

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Great, honest, entertaining review to read!

I'd agree with you about the design of the Eataly Rests., multiple reviews are stating food very good, service very good, ambiance awful !

Who thought up that rest. design for an extra fee dinner?!:eek:

I'd like to try it on our upcoming cruise but its too ugly for an extra fee dinner! Just my opinion!:)

Would also like to use the DK 18 Solarium but no shade, that's not me in the Caribbean sun! My wife's OK with it, but its a no go for me with no shade! Again my opinion, poor planning for extra money!:eek:

Doesn't sound like hard fixes for either of these locations to turn them around into winners! Are you listening MSC?:D

Edited by Russian Bear

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I've found the very best time for photographs without people is right around 11am on a port day. Breakfast is finished and it's before lunch, and most people are ashore and even those spending only an hour or so ashore are not back yet. It's a strategy that has served me well! LOL

 

I'm glad you enjoyed the review. Just curious since you were on a back-to-back cruise, were there fewer kids on the previous cruise and did the atmosphere onboard feel different or change much between cruises?

 

Thanks!

 

Ernie

 

Yes, I think there were fewer kids on the first week and it seemed to be a quieter ship overall. There were several of the CC Roll Call for the second week staying in the Yacht Club, as was I, and there was much more socializing among us. Except for the kid that knocked on our door around 10-10:30 (twice) and ran away,(yes, in the YC) the extra children on board didn't bother us. The concierge has video monitors at her desk so she knew who it was. The second time I caught him in the hallway further down from us but he denied it.

 

The second week did seem to have a more active vibe and I think it was due to all ages of passengers on board. We have booked our 3rd cruise with MSC in November. The price of the all inclusive YC can't be beat. We used to sail HAL for their perks, but they have priced themselves out of our market.

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The second week did seem to have a more active vibe and I think it was due to all ages of passengers on board. We have booked our 3rd cruise with MSC in November. The price of the all inclusive YC can't be beat. We used to sail HAL for their perks, but they have priced themselves out of our market.

 

 

 

Thanks for the info. I think next time it will be YC for me as well. Seems like a great way to be able to enjoy the entire ship, but get away from it all as well.

 

Ernie

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Thanks for the info. I think next time it will be YC for me as well. Seems like a great way to be able to enjoy the entire ship, but get away from it all as well.

 

Ernie

 

Exactly!! We really enjoy the entire ship and I wonder around a lot during the day to get in my walking. Been to most of all the Caribbean ports so many times so the ship is now the destination. And the butlers/servers in the YC spoil you rotten. :) After spending 4 weeks on Divina, we have gotten to know several of them very well and it seemed like home coming this last time when we were escorted into the YC.

 

Ernie, if I lived in Florida, we would be "cruise poor". LOL

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Great, honest, entertaining review to read!

I'd agree with you about the design of the Eataly Rests., multiple reviews are stating food very good, service very good, ambiance awful !

Who thought up that rest. design for an extra fee dinner?!:eek:

I'd like to try it on our upcoming cruise but its too ugly for an extra fee dinner! Just my opinion!:)

Would also like to use the DK 18 Solarium but no shade, that's not me in the Caribbean sun! My wife's OK with it, but its a no go for me with no shade! Again my opinion, poor planning for extra money!:eek:

Doesn't sound like hard fixes for either of these locations to turn them around into winners! Are you listening MSC?:D

 

 

Thanks for the nice comments! Much appreciated.

 

Here is a little advice that may make your dining experience in Eataly a little more pleasurable. There is a smaller area that is supposed to be the Italian section of Eataly, but you can order off the steak menu as well. This section has a bit more atmosphere and feels slightly more elegant as they actually use table clothes! Funny, you would think the Italian section would be more casual but it felt just the opposite. Attached is a pic. Anyway request to be seated in this section and I think you will enjoy the meal a bit more. Funny the only people dining with us in both sections of Eataly were crew.

 

A little trivia … Eataly was originally a Southwestern style restaurant called Sacramento before the ship came to the US. The decor was faux exposed brick and faux cactus. A little of the original decor remains and it seems slightly out of place.

 

Ernie

 

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Thank you so much for your well thought out and well written review...it was greatly appriciated.

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Glad you enjoyed the review and pics.

 

 

Royal Caribbean eliminated nightly chocolates some years ago. It's still done on Celebrity. Just sailed on the CONSTELLATION in February and they were there every night. Not a big deal to me but worth mentioning. As cruise lines become more and more similar from a hardware standpoint, it's the attention to detail that really makes the difference. All the little nice touches add up and cruise lines should not lose sight of that.

 

Ernie

 

On my Reflection cruise in November no chocolates. No biggie, just seems like another cut back to me. It's true it would be nice with a nice piece of Italian chocolate left in the room.

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What a well-rounded and thought out review! Thank you so much for taking the time to share your experience. You've made it even harder to wait for our turn aboard the Divina in November.

 

I'm off to check out all those photos!

 

Trish

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Thanks for such a thoughtful, unbiased review. We were on the same cruise with you and agree with you thoughts 100%.

We also found the little ones running around the nightclubs at all hours extremely annoying and were surprised that nobody said anything. The Black and White lounge seemed particularly over-run with them. One evening, we went in there to have a drink and listen to a little music before our late dinner assignment. Before our drinks ever arrived, literally swarms of kids came in and took over most of the seating. We wondered if it could be a kids' club outing! They were so loud and raucous that we got our drinks and took them elsewhere.

Most of the late-night parties in that lounge (that were so much fun) had young boys running through wildly and playing tag. I was afraid some adult was going to get hurt. This went on until nearly 1 AM when finally what appeared to be their grandparents came off the dance floor and left with them! The only time we went up to the Galaxy disco, young pre-teen girls had taken over the dance floor doing cartwheels. C'mom parents, you may think they're precious but the rest of us not so much. I'm sure the staff found this very annoying also. Night clubs are no place for anyone underage, period.

Other than the ever-present kids, the cruise was near perfection. I also hope to never sail at spring break time again, but even with that said, we REALLY enjoyed this cruise and this ship.

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On my Reflection cruise in November no chocolates. No biggie, just seems like another cut back to me. It's true it would be nice with a nice piece of Italian chocolate left in the room.

 

 

You're right not a big deal, but I wonder if you're cabin steward was excluding you for some reason, or just being lazy. Pillow chocolates are still very much part of Celebrity Cruises … for the moment anyway! Tomorrow is another day. LOL

 

Ernie

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Thanks for such a thoughtful, unbiased review. We were on the same cruise with you and agree with you thoughts 100%.

We also found the little ones running around the nightclubs at all hours extremely annoying and were surprised that nobody said anything. The Black and White lounge seemed particularly over-run with them. One evening, we went in there to have a drink and listen to a little music before our late dinner assignment. Before our drinks ever arrived, literally swarms of kids came in and took over most of the seating. We wondered if it could be a kids' club outing! They were so loud and raucous that we got our drinks and took them elsewhere.

Most of the late-night parties in that lounge (that were so much fun) had young boys running through wildly and playing tag. I was afraid some adult was going to get hurt. This went on until nearly 1 AM when finally what appeared to be their grandparents came off the dance floor and left with them! The only time we went up to the Galaxy disco, young pre-teen girls had taken over the dance floor doing cartwheels. C'mom parents, you may think they're precious but the rest of us not so much. I'm sure the staff found this very annoying also. Night clubs are no place for anyone underage, period.

Other than the ever-present kids, the cruise was near perfection. I also hope to never sail at spring break time again, but even with that said, we REALLY enjoyed this cruise and this ship.

 

 

Thanks for you kind comments and I'm glad you enjoyed the review! Like you, I think without all the kids this cruise was near perfection. There was just no escaping them except in your cabin or balcony and even then I could hear them running full speed down the halls! I certainly don't put the entire onus on the cruise line, after all parents should be taking responsibility for their kids. Unfortunately we all know that is hardly the case anymore which is why companies like MSC have to step up and implement some basic rules and guidelines. Creating and enforcing some adults only areas will go a long way in creating a more relaxing environment for the adults without kids. Even on cruise lines with this policy, I've seen parents try to bring their kids into these adult only areas, thinking for some reason the policy doesn't apply to their precious ones. This is why the enforcement end of the policy is so important. If the crew feel they can't politely approach violators and request them to leave, either because they fear a bad letter or the cruise line won't back them up, then the policy is pointless.

 

I'm looking forward to another cruise on MSC DIVINA, but it will be when schools are in session for certain!

 

Ernie

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What a well-rounded and thought out review! Thank you so much for taking the time to share your experience. You've made it even harder to wait for our turn aboard the Divina in November.

 

I'm off to check out all those photos!

 

Trish

 

 

Hey Trish,

Hope you enjoy the photos and I'm sure you will have a blast onboard in November.

 

Ernie

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Thank you so much for the very detailed and visual review. Sailing on Divina in October...can't wait!

 

 

 

You're welcome! Something to keep you entertained until October.

 

Ernie

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Thanks for you kind comments and I'm glad you enjoyed the review! Like you, I think without all the kids this cruise was near perfection. There was just no escaping them except in your cabin or balcony and even then I could hear them running full speed down the halls! I certainly don't put the entire onus on the cruise line, after all parents should be taking responsibility for their kids. Unfortunately we all know that is hardly the case anymore which is why companies like MSC have to step up and implement some basic rules and guidelines. Creating and enforcing some adults only areas will go a long way in creating a more relaxing environment for the adults without kids. Even on cruise lines with this policy, I've seen parents try to bring their kids into these adult only areas, thinking for some reason the policy doesn't apply to their precious ones. This is why the enforcement end of the policy is so important. If the crew feel they can't politely approach violators and request them to leave, either because they fear a bad letter or the cruise line won't back them up, then the policy is pointless.

 

I'm looking forward to another cruise on MSC DIVINA, but it will be when schools are in session for certain!

 

Ernie

 

Ohh the luxury of traveling off season when the little kiddies are in school. :D The end of September can't get here soon enough.

Edited by Bosjoe

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Ernie,

Great review and fabulous photo's.

Penny and I sincerely enjoyed being your tablemates during this wonderfully surprising cruise. Both you and Chris made our evenings fun and informative.

Hopefully our paths will cross again as we all continue to "cruise our way through life".

Best regards,

Penny and Bob

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Ernie,

Great review and fabulous photo's.

Penny and I sincerely enjoyed being your tablemates during this wonderfully surprising cruise. Both you and Chris made our evenings fun and informative.

Hopefully our paths will cross again as we all continue to "cruise our way through life".

Best regards,

Penny and Bob

 

 

Thanks for the kind message! Great to see you on Cruise Critic. Both Chris and I enjoyed having you as table mates as well. We really wanted a table for two but that wasn't possible, and we were glad that didn't work out after we met you all. Our biggest fear was a table filled with small kids.

 

I hope we run into you both again on a future cruise, and knowing how often we all cruise that is quite possible.

 

Take care,

Ernie

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Ohh the luxury of traveling off season when the little kiddies are in school. :D The end of September can't get here soon enough.

 

how can anyone complain about children when sailing on line whose brand is "kids sail free"? granted, nobody likes diapers in the pools, and MSC needs to enforce the rules. staff training is needed in this respect.

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Thanks for taking the time to write such a great and detailed review. It was nice to read all the pros and "opportunities". Your pictures were amazing! Can't wait to experience this great ship on May 10th.:)

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Thanks for the great review, can't wait til I sail on May 10th.

 

Thanks for posting the health smoothies menus in the Spa. Really looking forward to trying some of the drinks off the menu.

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