Jump to content
Mrs. Squirrel

Review-MSC Divina Cruise 4-26-14

Recommended Posts

Although I have been a long time member of CC, this is my first review. I have had good intentions of completing reviews in the past. However, like most of you, I have a life outside of cruise planning and taking. That life always smacks me right upside the head as soon as I get back, so my good intentions go right out the window.

 

I am determined to follow through with this review for two reasons:

 

1. There is so little info on CC about MSC and Divina. . .and frankly a lot of what is out there is just plain wrong. Along the way, I will try to point out inaccuracies I have read about her.

 

If you can view signatures, you will see that NCL is the line we have sailed the most, our current favorite, and the one I have 3 cruises booked on next year. The second purpose of this review will be:

2. To compare our MSC sailing to our NCL sailings.

 

This trip was only my 53 year young DH, Rich, and myself (Jayne-46). We had already completed our annual, family cruise on the NCL Sun when MSC offered employee prices on Divina for the spring. We decided to do an adults only cruise for our 13th Anniversary leaving our 10 year old DS, Alexander, home with Grandma. As it turned out, Divina was also my 13th cruise. With all the negative reviews I read beforehand, DH and I had little hope of anything other than an ‘unlucky 13’ cruise experience. For the price we paid, we figured as long as we made it to the ports and didn’t get food poisoning. . .it was all good!

 

Here we are at the Captain’s Cocktail Party on Divina.

DSC_0533_zps28b13636.jpg?t=1399495251

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We broke a few of the cruise ‘rules’ on this trip. We flew in the morning of debarkation and we booked a flight out early on the day of debarkation. Even though I know better, it could not be helped. Rich lives and works in another city in Indianapolis. He has a work apartment and comes home on the weekends. He only had five days of vacation left when we booked Divina, therefore, we could not fly out on Friday. He arrives home on Friday nights around 5pm if the traffic is good. Since the Southwest/AirTran merger, non-stop flights into and out of Indy have doubled in price and the schedules have gotten weird. More on that later.

 

When Rich hit the door at 5pm, I had all the laundry done and ready to pack. Somehow, this very simple process morphed into an eight hour ordeal. We finally went to bed at 1:30am, then up again at 4:30am. Left the house at 6am for our 7:30am, non-stop flight on Southwest and arrived in Ft. Lauderdale about ½ hour early due to a strong tail wind. Luckily for us, SAS transportation was able to get us on a shared shuttle to the Port of Miami earlier than our 11am reservations. So far; so good. I still would not fly in the day of a cruise. It was too stressful. Anything can happen. Just don’t do it!

 

There are no happy airline travel photos to share with you. My husband dreads airport security like a root canal. I assume because of his looks, he gets picked out often to do the "full monty" of security measures. :eek: This plus lack of sleep caused one grumpy husband. My request to do a selfie with him on the airplane was met with one half-opened, glaring eye and a grunt. There will be no more pictures until we board the ship and Rich has had some food.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We arrived at the POM about 11:15am. There were still prior passengers coming off the ship and securing transportation. We gave the porter our luggage right after a trio of folks who had him tag a case of water for transportation directly to their room. Huh?! I thought I read on CC that you could not bring pop, water or alcohol onboard Divina! The truth is, whether you can or cannot is a resounding. . .maybe! At embarkation and at all the port stops, we saw fellow cruisers get all of the above onboard right through the security screen and other fellow cruisers get like beverages taken away. Because we drink so much water in port, we love that NCL allows you to bring pop and water onboard without the guesswork. When we sail Divina again, I will definitely try to get a $4 case of water onboard since it is not much of a risk, moneywise, if they confiscate it.

 

We were told by one of the POM workers that the terminal was not open to board yet. While waiting outside, we chatted with a gentlemen who had just disembarked. He had a lot of complaints about his cruise. He said that MSC had disembarked about 200 employees off the ship at one of the ports the week prior and that all the crew members had an attitude about it and were looking unhappy all week. Some of his party complained of poor cabin service. He also stated that food and drink service was so slow that he had to throw a Ketchup packet at a bar waiter on deck to get a drink one day. At this point, I asked him if he was a member of Cruise Critic. He looked at me quizzically, then answered, “no,” without ever really getting the joke. I didn’t explain. I didn’t want a barrage of condiments on us before our embarkation photos!

Edited by Mrs. Squirrel

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We walked past others sitting outside of the terminal also waiting for it to open. Rich tried the doors. They were open. We entered and there were already many MSC cruisers inside with embarkation boarding cards, sitting in the air-conditioning, and enjoying the water, bottled water, and juice provided at the entrance. That was a nice touch by MSC. NCL does this too, but after you go through security and check-in. Who knows why we were told by POM that the terminal wasn’t open yet, but obviously we weren’t the only ones, as all those we passed started filling in behind us once we entered the building.

 

The terminal building is beautifully decorated with large metal sea life sculptures. Most of you could care less about that. You want to know about the embarkation process. It was quick and easy. We were given our boarding card and on the ship having lunch by 12:15pm. The only hiccup we had was the gentleman calling out the boarding card letters could not be heard through-out the terminal. He needed a microphone or a bullhorn. Minor issue. Embarkation still goes to MSC.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This is the point in the embarkation intersection where a collision occurred between a lack of sleep and no food since 5:30am. Usually we head to the dining room for our first meal onboard. A leisurely meal, either alone or shared with other excited passengers, seems to say, “The cruise has started!” The Daily indicated that the Black Crab dining room was open from noon to 2:00pm for either full or express lunch. Well. . .Mr. Grumpy was having none of that. I knew that no fun nor photos would be had until he got some food. So off we went to the rear of deck 14 through the Manitou buffet to at least partake of those beautiful views I had read about on CC. All I can say is WOW! This bank of windows became a favorite viewing spot of ours throughout the voyage. MSC keeps all their windows cleaner than any other ship we’ve ever sailed. Let me show you. These photos were taken right up to and through the rear windows. Point for MSC.

 

Anyone recognize this ship?

DSC_0107_zps14d23112.jpg?t=1399585714

 

Downtown Miami

DSC_0109_zps4da4de29.jpg?t=1399499480

 

Miami to the Northeast

DSC_0108_zps0b5846ee.jpg?t=1399585719

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The buffet area has an American Indian design theme and naming. You can see this throughout with the southwest patterning on the chair pads, tables and cloth hangings. However, the screens and chair backs look distinctly Asian. Not sure why. The entire buffet is composed of two buffet areas called Calumet and the aforementioned Manitou. All the stations in the two buffet areas are not open all the time. The more cruisers expected, the more stations are opened. The buffet is open 20 out of 24 hours a day. All food we had there was very tasty. We especially liked the rear Med and Indian food. In between those areas was a kids' buffet section. Very cute.

 

I recognized the name Manitou right away. It doesn’t have an appealing memory when dining. If you’ve never seen that B movie, you may not understand. I saw it as a youngster at a drive-in. Terrifying! Especially when the spirit escapes the hump!

 

The Manitou (1978)

104 min - Horror - 15 April 1978 (Japan)

Ratings: 5.0/10 from 1,479 users

 

A psychic's girlfriend finds out that a lump on her back is a growing reincarnation of a 400 year-old demonic Native American spirit.

 

the-manitou-movie-poster-1020193488_zps5f135572.jpg?t=1399503294

 

I could not help thinking of that movie all week. When I got back from the cruise, I Googled both names. Calumet was a ceremonial Indian smoking pipe and Manitou was an Algonquian Indian life force. That really doesn't sound evil and all I can say is that Manitou revived Rich’s spirits, and as tired as he was, he was finally ready to go exploring. On with the vacation!

 

A Warm and Tasty Welcome

DSC_0111_zps5413f8bc.jpg?t=1399589384

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

More Photos of the Buffet areas

DSC_0115_zps415b9909.jpg?t=1399589371

 

This is Allister. He got a mighty good laugh of me trying to take pictures with the lens cap on my new camera and not being able to figure out why it wasn't working. :o You can see the Indian Portraits behind his station.

DSC_0113_zps56a6c6bd.jpg?t=1399589379

 

More of the rear section of the Buffet. There was one of many drink stations to the left of this picture.

DSC_0116_zps2f51e62c.jpg?t=1399589365

 

I thought these were plastic food sculptures, but we later saw this one made fresh with baked bread and long wooden skewers.

DSC_0117_zpseef2f394.jpg?t=1399589359

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The buffets had multiple drink and food stations that would serve the same things. When there were a lot of people eating, they seemed to congregate toward the front of the Calumet buffet. A short walk back toward the rear would often find the same food and drink with no or little lines. Not once in all the times we used the buffet did we have trouble finding table space. We shared a table once. The Europeans don't seem to have such a hang-up with this as we Americans can.

 

The buffet served coffee, hot and cold tea, flavored waters, and regular water. In addition, the mornings had pineapple, cranberry, grapefruit and orange juice. Next to the coffee was a large pot of hot milk. I discovered the joys of hot milk in my coffee during this cruise. :D They had regular half and half in both containers and single serves. Honey, both white and brown sugar, sugar substitute and just about every condiment known to man was available somewhere in the buffet.

 

Breakfast had a wide selection of breads including bagels and croissants. Cereals, Muesli, Whole and sliced fruit, Fried Eggs, Scrambled Eggs, two types of omelets daily, bacon, sausage, baked beans, hash browns, pancakes, waffles, oatmeal, pastries of all varieties, cream cheese, butter, margarine, and waffle toppings. This not an exhaustive list, just what I remember.

 

Lunches always had four different kinds of pizza, hamburgers, hot dogs, sausages, french fries, pre-made sandwiches, make-your-own sandwiches, salad bar (pretty simple choices-don't think Golden Corral, mile long salad bar), whole and sliced fruit, and a variety of hot dishes including a pasta choice and fish, a selection of breads, two soups and desserts.

 

Dinner always had the comfort foods of lunch plus some of the same hot items available that night in the main dinning rooms. There were soups, a meat carving station that rotated daily, fish, assorted breads, salad bar and desserts.

 

This is by no means an exhaustive list, so feel free to ask questions. Because the buffet runs 20 hours, often when one dish was depleted, it might be changed out with the same or something else. This means you could visit the buffet several different times in the same evening and not have the same experience. I honestly will have to give the point to MSC on their buffet set-up, attractiveness and selection and taste with possibly the exception of NCL's Epic. I would rate Divina and Epic buffets about equal.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

After lunch, we explored a little, then stopped by the Reception Desk (Guest Services) to ask when cabins would be ready. MSC has a quiet policy on announcements. They make only what is necessary plus the Captain gives a nautical and weather announcement daily. We assumed we might have missed the announcement during lunch.

 

To our surprise, Reception said our cabins had been ready when we boarded! This is apparently why MSC wants you out of your cabin by 7am the morning of debarkation. You are free to roam the ship and even spend money on your key card in the morning, but this allows the cabin stewards to have the rooms ready for the new, boarding guests.

 

We had a B3 balcony cabin 13029 on the port side just before the indentations, down from the Bridge. Our view looking off our balcony was only lovely aqua blue water, just as I had expected with my research. The cabin was beautiful. It still had that new ship feel and smell. Very clean. The balcony was a standard size for a balcony on the new mega-ships. I personally miss the larger size balconies of mid to smaller ships. Here are some pictures.

 

First piece of luggage already there by 2pm. Spacious hallways, even when steward's cleaning carts are out.

DSC_0139_zpsf6381732.jpg?t=1399593583

 

DSC_0140_zps9f8aebbe.jpg?t=1399593578

 

DSC_0141_zps310fd0c7.jpg?t=1399593573

 

DSC_0142_zps6a45cf70.jpg?t=1399593569

 

DSC_0144_zpsb5756c40.jpg?t=1399593563

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank you for taking the time to do this review. I am enjoying your writing and the photos. I live in South Florida and as you mentioned the Divina reviews are not as common as others. Would love to jump on some of MSC deals but since vacation time is at a premium, I need to get a good feel of what I'll be commiting to. Thanks again and looking forward to reading the rest of your review.

 

 

Sent from my iPad using Forums mobile app

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

DSC_0145_zps99239f7a.jpg?t=1399593554

 

The bathroom had about the same square footage as other ships we've been on.

DSC_0147_zpsc28f5ea6.jpg?t=1399593559

 

There is a retractable clothesline, shampoo and shower gel in the shower stall.

DSC_0148_zps417d0e5c.jpg?t=1399593549

 

This is what makes the bathroom feel larger than it is. The doors are curved, plastic and push inward, stopped by those magnets at the top, when not in use. This gives more elbow room around the toilet area. Great design. Just be careful to get the doors fully closed or you will have water all over the floor!

DSC_0149_zpsac50b369.jpg?t=1399593542

 

The cabin was very comfortable overall. We kept the air on full blast all week. The lights do not work without your keycard or another card deposited into a slot by the door. We used a grocery card. Don't take the card out until you are ready to leave or the lights will go out on you after a few minutes. With the curtains drawn on this balcony cabin, it was almost as dark as an inside cabin! The bed was comfy and to the firm, which we both prefer. It did not feel as much like two beds pushed together as I have noticed in other cabins. There was a top sheet between the bottom sheet and the duvet as well as washclothes, so it is not like Europe in those two respects.

 

There were two drawbacks to our cabin. One, it seemed to have less storage than we're use to. We normally travel with three in a balcony cabin, but in this cabin, there would have been no where to put our son's clothes if he had come. Two, the pillows were weird. :( I read it here on CC and Rich and I can confirm it ito be true. The inside of the pillows have little blocks or chunks of some type of foam. Besides this not being a very comfortable design, if you scratch or move your hand across the pillow while your ear is against it, the blocks magnify the sound. If you are picky about pillows, absolutely bring your own. We didn't try to ask for different ones, so can't say that this wouldn't be an option. We did have two robes in our cabin when we arrived. If they aren't there, I would ask for them. Balconies are suppose to have them.

 

There was a lot of ships information in the cabin including a very large cut-away map of Divina. When I say large, I mean National Geographic Magazine's pull-out maps large, lol! Not practical to carry around, that's for sure. :)

 

The balcony chairs do not recline, but they are very comfortable. We also liked the extra large foot rest. We could both use it at the same time when we placed it between us and faced the deck chairs toward each other. It also makes a great coffee table for coffee and/or breakfast in the morning. Overall, a very nice cabin, but I'd have to give this point to NCL for in-room coffee makers, better storage and better bedding including pillows.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Thank you for taking the time to do this review. I am enjoying your writing and the photos. I live in South Florida and as you mentioned the Divina reviews are not as common as others. Would love to jump on some of MSC deals but since vacation time is at a premium, I need to get a good feel of what I'll be commiting to. Thanks again and looking forward to reading the rest of your review.

 

You are welcome. I know what you mean. I felt the same before I booked, and that is why I am doing this review.

 

I think it's time to quit for the night. More tomorrow. Hopefully, I don't dream about Manitou! :eek:

 

To everyone reading, I forgot to mention that I have posted all the Dailies for this cruise and all the Kids' Club Dailies in two separate threads already in case you just want that info and not our personal impressions of the cruise.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
This is the point in the embarkation intersection where a collision occurred between a lack of sleep and no food since 5:30am. Usually we head to the dining room for our first meal onboard. A leisurely meal, either alone or shared with other excited passengers, seems to say, “The cruise has started!” The Daily indicated that the Black Crab dining room was open from noon to 2:00pm for either full or express lunch. Well. . .Mr. Grumpy was having none of that. I knew that no fun nor photos would be had until he got some food. So off we went to the rear of deck 14 through the Manitou buffet to at least partake of those beautiful views I had read about on CC. All I can say is WOW! This bank of windows became a favorite viewing spot of ours throughout the voyage. MSC keeps all their windows cleaner than any other ship we’ve ever sailed. Let me show you. These photos were taken right up to and through the rear windows. Point for MSC.

 

Anyone recognize this ship?

DSC_0107_zps14d23112.jpg?t=1399585714

 

Downtown Miami

DSC_0109_zps4da4de29.jpg?t=1399499480

 

Miami to the Northeast

DSC_0108_zps0b5846ee.jpg?t=1399585719

 

Thanks for the review, great to re-live our week on Divina. We got off the day you got on. Enjoyed the week very much.

 

The ship behind the Divina was the Celebrity Reflection. We had sailed on its sister, the Silhouette, in November and it is a fantastic ship as well.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Love your review! Thank you!

One of my kid will definitely be happy with the pastries selection.... I have shown her the picture, she almost cried... Oh! Dear! :rolleyes:

The other girl would like to know about proscuitto.... She expects to eat a lot of it since MSC is an italian cruiseline. Can you confirm we can find it at the buffet or MDR? Thanks!:)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Awesome review! Can't wait to see the rest. This is certainly whetting our appetite for our cruise on Divina in November! :o

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Love your review! Thank you!

One of my kid will definitely be happy with the pastries selection.... I have shown her the picture, she almost cried... Oh! Dear! :rolleyes:

The other girl would like to know about proscuitto.... She expects to eat a lot of it since MSC is an italian cruiseline. Can you confirm we can find it at the buffet or MDR? Thanks!:)

 

Lol! There is also a coffee, pastry, and gelato shop on Deck 6 at the Piazza del Doge. This is for fee, but they were cheaper than specialty pastries at our local, rural grocery store. A second gelato shop is found on Deck 14 near the main pool in front of the entrance to the buffet, plus a Nutella crepe station. Plenty of choices for the sweet tooth!

 

I don't know specifically about proscuitto, but everyday at all meals they had thinly sliced meet and cheese offerings at the buffet. There was also the same in the Med section at the rear of the buffet when it was open. Surely one of those was proscuitto. If you don't see it out, just ask for it and see if they have it. I'm pretty sure it was one of the appetizer choices at the Eataly Steakhouse.

 

If your kiddos have an interest, make sure to check out the thread where i posted all the Kids' Club Daily activities. Have a great time!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Thanks for the review, great to re-live our week on Divina. We got off the day you got on. Enjoyed the week very much.

 

The ship behind the Divina was the Celebrity Reflection. We had sailed on its sister, the Silhouette, in November and it is a fantastic ship as well.

 

That's good to know. I have only been on Celebrity Mercury. Just couldn't believe what a fantastic pic you could get through those windows!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Awesome review! Can't wait to see the rest. This is certainly whetting our appetite for our cruise on Divina in November! :o

 

Thank you. I am sure you'll have a great time.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

After unpacking our suitcases, things get a little fuzzy in my memory. By this point, we are ‘drooling on ourselves’ tired which continued through the rest of embarkation day and night. We took a short nap until the muster drill.

 

I can’t recall what time muster occurred, but it was some time prior to departure, maybe around 4pm? Anyway, MSC has you bring your life jackets with you, but you assemble in an assigned lounge. Most people put their life jackets on before coming to the Muster station. I have no idea why, because they are bulky, hot and you’re packed like sardines. The announcements were made in about five languages that clearly said you did not have to wear them. Some people did it, I think, for fun pics. Others just looked very miserable throughout the presentation.

 

MSC’s Muster Drill is long, because they made the announcements and demonstration in the multiple languages. OK for us, because we were comfy and just rested during the other languages. The demo in English was standard fare until the announcer said, “Take the crotch strap and put it between your legs.” Our eyes bugged out and we laughed at that one. I’m not sure the announcer knows that ‘crotch’ is a crude word in English. I put this on my survey, so they know now. It became a running joke between us for the cruise. Yeah. . .we’re that immature!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If you are a frequent cruiser out of POM, you will appreciate Divina’s late departure time for the difference in experience. We have sailed out of Miami so many times, that we no longer take pics. Sailing at dusk was really special, though. I have no pics of this, because I just soaked up the view and enjoyed it. Beautiful with all the high-rise condos and multi-million dollar homes lit up!

 

Prior to departure, while taking a few shots off the balcony, we saw this:

 

Police! Pull Over!

DSC_0178_zpsf67ae7e0.jpg?t=1399642785

 

Turned Around

DSC_0179_zpsba25914a.jpg?t=1399642841

 

And Escorted Out!

DSC_0180_zps2a079241.jpg?t=1399642896

 

By this time, cruise ships east of our docking position had begun to depart already. Don't know what this group was thinking!:rolleyes:

Edited by Mrs. Squirrel

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Before departure, we did explore the ship some. However, the pictures I took have very few people in them. I will save the ships pics and group them together in a later part of the review. To whet your appetite, I will say that Divina is the most beautiful ship we have every sailed on! She is simply stunning, eye-candy!

 

There are a few additional points I wanted to make about Embarkation day before we get into the first evening. Hand luggage storage is available just off the Reception area on Deck 5 if you’d like to explore the ship without lugging your baggage around. NCL does this, too, so this point is a tie. Of course, we didn’t see this area until it was too late to need it, lol!

 

The Maitre d’ was available in the Black Crab restaurant to address any dinning assignment issues. We went to see if we had received our requested table for two (it was our anniversary, after all). He told us there were few tables for two on Divina and that they were mostly kept for those with disabilities. We then asked to make sure we weren’t at a table for four. We thought that might be awkward for the week with just one other couple we didn’t know. He agreed and checked our assignment. We had a table for eight. It worked out just fine. We had fun table mates, but we still prefer NCL’s free-style dining and getting to know our fellow cruisers through active participation in the CC roll calls and activities onboard. This point goes to NCL.

 

We also made a stop at the Aurea Spa to book our appointments on a package I had pre-paid. We were given a very nice tour of the area by one of the massage therapists. If you want an appointment for the spa, nail or beauty salon the first sea day/Gala night, I would suggest you go early after boarding. They were very busy making appointments. I will talk more about the spa later.

Edited by Mrs. Squirrel

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

There was a Sailaway Party on Deck 14 at the Aqua Park (main pool area). We chose to enjoy sailaway from our balcony, because we were still such tired, party-poopers. I will say that all week, the main pool area was very busy and very lively with games, music, bingo, exercise classes and concerts playing on the big screen.

 

Also, several nights that week, the big outdoor screen at Aqua Park was used to play movies. The selections that week were Best Man Down, Grudge Match, Saving Mr. Banks, and 47 Ronin. There was seating facing the screens and popcorn available. I love movies. This was one thing I never got to do. Hard choices had to be made, as there was so much going on. We also relaxed more on this cruise than usual. When our son is with us, we’re more go, go, go. Whether you are looking for party fun or relaxation you can do both on Divina.

 

I did not take this photo, but I use it to show the area I'm talking about.

50b584b38d45d8f1505f20522697fae2_zps2cdf05e6.jpg?t=1399560518

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

After sailaway, we freshened up for dinner. We were assigned second seating at 8:45pm in the Villa Rossa Dining Room at the rear of Deck 6. Villa Rossa is a single story dining room, while Black Crab is a two-story dining room mid-ship on Deck 5 and 6. Because of the Galley, you can’t get to Villa Rossa via Deck 5 or 6. We usually walked down Deck 7 and took the stairs down one floor. MSC does a good job with guidance signage for everything from the direction to Reception, exits at ports, directions toward lounges, etc. In addition, at all elevator banks there is a ship map that shows where you are to help you get around. It is a big ship and takes a bit to figure out how to get around.

 

We were seated at a table for eight. Our tablemates were all couples; one from North Carolina, a Russian couple now living in New York, and a German couple. We only made it to the dining room three out of the seven nights, but this had more to do with our relaxed schedule and nothing whatsoever to do with either service problems or food issues.

 

Our head and assistant waiters were both very efficient and friendly. We never waited long for anything. Water glasses were kept full. There is ice in the water pitchers, but it is often melted or stopped by the pour spout on the pitchers so if ice with your water is important, a simple request for a glass of ice solves the problem. Bread came around once, so you either get more than one piece then or just ask later and more was happily provided. Both soft drinks from the bar and unsweet iced tea were easily acquired. I mention these things, because I have read the above as complaints about Divina’s MDR service in other reviews.

 

We had no problems in the MDR and actually felt like there the staff to passenger ratio in Divina’s dining rooms was higher than we had seen in years. Cutting of the dining room staff is something I regret about cruising in the 21st century. Divina felt more like cruising in the 90’s. The table settings were attractive. The tables, themselves had cream colored tablecloths that were not heavily creased like the white ones on NCL. This sounds dumb, but when you use a tablecloth and it is all creased up from being folded, it takes a little away from the ambiance for me. That’s why I don’t use a tablecloth at home. Too lazy for the proper upkeep! The table tops were padded under the cloths and the chairs very comfortable. With good conversation, two hours could fly by and you’d hardly notice!

 

I will say that the ambient noise level in the dining room is high. It can make hearing your tablemate's conversation difficult, especially when extra attention is needed while conversing with someone with an accent. We found this same thing on NCL Epic, but not on NCL's smaller ships.

 

This pains me to say it. It truly does, because I love NCL, but I will have to give the Main Dining Room point to MSC for both service and food quality. :o I feel like I'm cheating!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

MDR Food Photos:

 

Chicken Quesadilla with Guacamole and Salsa

DSC_0205_zps716917ae.jpg?t=1399651199

 

Mushroom Puff Pastry

DSC_0544_zps4e25caef.jpg?t=1399651103

 

Fried Calamari with Marinara. Sorry, I started eating before I thought to take the picture. Look away if you have a week stomach!

DSC_0481_zps5adf44df.jpg?t=1399651152

 

Scallop Polenta

DSC_0546_zps017e68d8.jpg?t=1399651059

 

Shrimp Cocktail

DSC_0204_zps6d72bc03.jpg?t=1399651262

 

Chicken Caesar Salad. This became my husband's all time favorite version of his favorite salad.

DSC_0548_zpsbbca222d.jpg?t=1399651017

 

As you can see, these photos are all starter courses. After these courses, I got so into the conversation at our table I never got any soup, pasta, entree or dessert photos! Fun times!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Divina waiters take your order as soon as you have your water, drink, bar service and bread. This is independent of weather your tablemates have arrived or not. I believe that this is a concession to the American cruisers so they are not kept waiting for those who role on ‘island time,’ all the time. For example, our German friends arrived at dinner one night while dessert was being served.

 

Add to the fact that many skip a course out of the five offered, this approach leads to everyone at the table being on different courses at the same time. It did not bother Rich or I, but I can see how it might some, as I have read this as a complaint on CC before. This is my attempt to at least explain it.

 

Villa Rosa Dining Room

DSC_0480_zps2bd610f0.jpg?t=1399653126

 

During the Tirimasu Parade on Italian Theme Night

DSC_0483_zps3df9e6ba.jpg?t=1399653164

 

Our Head Waiter having Fun

DSC_0487_zps35672315.jpg?t=1399653200

 

Prepping for the Baked Alaska Parade on the Second Gala Night

DSC_0549_zpsdb91826a.jpg?t=1399653312

 

Our Assistant Waiter with our Baked Alaska

DSC_0553_zpsbb88cb86.jpg?t=1399653261

 

Our Attire on Italian Theme Night. The Picture of us at the beginning of this review is what we wore on the Second Gala Night.

DSC_0475_zps3e291993.jpg?t=1399653069

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Before Dinner, we went to the Frank Forever Show. This was a tribute to Frank Sinatra. It was billed as a modern representation of some of the most popular songs by Frank Sinatra. This show, and the others we saw during, the week did not disappoint. The lead male singer, Yatzel Vera, was the best, bar none, I had ever heard on a cruise ship.

 

We also attended the production shows Wonderland and Pirates on different nights. The costumes, lighting, choreography, and dancing/singing talent were all top notch. I don't want to give any spoilers, but there are certain acrobatic elements to these two shows that should not be missed. In fact, do yourself a favor and go to as many shows as you can fit in. Everything you have read about Divina's entertainment is true. Even those who didn't care for the cruise remark on the quality of the entertainment! MSC truly puts a lot of money into it's entertainment options throughout the ship and it shows. We do not drink or gamble, so entertainment and good live music are very important to us on a ship. MSC gets the point over NCL, yet again!

 

I have no pictures of the production shows, because photos and video were not allowed.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This will be my last post for the day, because life is calling. I wanted to at least finish embarkation day. I know it’s been a lot of posts for one day’s worth of travel. I promise I won’t make every day of the cruise this long, lol!

 

After dinner, we were extremely tired and headed to bed. Our wonderful cabin steward, Anthony, had readied us with all the info we needed for our first sea day in the morning, plus this guy:

 

DSC_0196_zpsa2424e51.jpg?t=1399568595

 

This is photographic proof that MSC does do towel animals! Myth busted! At least this cabin steward does. :D

 

Anthony had knocked on our door to introduce himself earlier in the day while we were unpacking. The following morning, I mentioned to him how much I liked our towel animal. Well. . .our towel buddy stayed with us all week. I don't know if Anthony would have made a new one, daily, if I hadn't said anything or if that's just how they do it. Anyway, I like towel animals but know others could care less, and that's OK, too.

 

We had had a wonderful day! MSC had surpassed our expectations in every way, so far. While settling down in bed, I like to read the Daily for the next day. Inside the Daily, mind you our first full day onboard, was debarkation information! :( :( :( Really, MSC?! What a Debbie Downer! You can keep crotch strap in the muster drill, if you must, but please end this barbaric practice, at once. I just got here and you want me to think of leaving already? I deduct a point from MSC for bad form here. My beloved NCL would never do that to us! ;)

 

All kidding aside, a great first day. More tomorrow.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Love your review! Thank you!

One of my kid will definitely be happy with the pastries selection.... I have shown her the picture, she almost cried... Oh! Dear! :rolleyes:

The other girl would like to know about proscuitto.... She expects to eat a lot of it since MSC is an italian cruiseline. Can you confirm we can find it at the buffet or MDR? Thanks!:)

 

All the prosciutto you could ever want, and of excellent quality as well.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The next morning, we both awoke refreshed and back to normal after our extremely long travel/embarkation day. We started most mornings with room service coffee and croissants on the balcony ordered via a hang tag left outside on the cabin door handle the prior evening. At turndown service, a new breakfast hang tag was delivered with the next day’s Daily. Room service breakfast is limited to continental items. Service was always right on time.

 

One morning, we didn’t use the hang tag, because we wanted to sleep in. Upon waking, we ordered by calling Room Service via the cabin phone. They literally were there with our order in 10 minutes! All trays we received arrived beautifully arranged with everything necessary to enjoy your meal. You could not help but notice the high quality of the cloth napkins and the dishes. This point definitely goes to MSC.

 

Views like this are why we cruise! Our weather was gorgeous and the seas calm all week, minus a little choppy at GSC.

DSC_0197_zpsf87f5b8f.jpg?t=1399725059

 

Our balcony was fully covered, but we still got sun at least once per day depending on the direction of the ship.

DSC_0203_zpseed3999d.jpg?t=1399725100

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It was a lazy morning for us. We finally emerged from the cabin around 10 am and headed up to the buffet for breakfast. I had chosen our cabin to be close to the forward bank of elevators, but far enough away not to hear the elevator or stairwell noises. It turned out to be the perfect location for us. We were right under the spa (not the gym, I made sure of that) so a quick flight of small stairs brought you to Deck 14 with the Spa to the left and the entrance to the covered pool to the right. We just walked along the pool deck to get to the buffet area.

 

We eat cereal almost every morning at home, so we like a nice breakfast on vacation. We had fried eggs; bagel with cream cheese, English muffin with jam, or more croissants; fruit; and sausage links and/or bacon.

 

I am going to put my $.02 in on the bacon debate. We are crispy bacon people. I read a lot of complaints that you can't get crispy bacon on the buffet on MSC. I agree. It is true. However, you can't really get crispy bacon on any buffet that we have ever had on any of our cruises. The nature of buffet service=limp bacon. Granted, MSC could cook their bacon longer. We found the ends typically done, but the middle of the bacon strips always underdone, sometimes to the point of looking raw. Maybe they do this on purpose to be politically correct bacon providers. :D Limp sections for the Europeans and cooked ends for the Americans? Just a possibility!

 

We dealt with the bacon issue by only eating the cooked bits. If you want crispy bacon, the Black Crab was open daily for breakfast from 7:30 am-9:30 am. My husband asked and received crispy bacon the morning we ate breakfast there. NCL gets a point for their better buffet bacon. Yeah NCL!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We spent the afternoon exploring the ship. As I mentioned, she is a stunner! I do not like to look at photos of a ship before I sail. I like to be surprised while I am walking around. I had seen a few pictures of Divina on CC, but there is so much detail to notice, it did not distract from the eye-candy at all. I am not a great photographer, so I don't think my photos necessarily do the ship justice, but I will post a few of my favorites from the week all the same.

 

View from the Excursion Desk on Deck 6

DSC_0214_zpsc5750379.jpg?t=1399727912

 

On Divina, the Excursion Desk has its own area separate from Reception.

DSC_0215_zpsf59fd1ab.jpg?t=1399727960

 

Just one of many murals showing old Movie stars

DSC_0216_zps497eaff4.jpg?t=1399727997

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Silver Lounge on Deck 6

DSC_0218_zps79e48ca5.jpg?t=1399728037

 

Extreme close up of the Swarovski crystals in the atrium stairs

DSC_0222_zps18229ea1.jpg?t=1399728078

 

Atrium showing Deck 6 and 7. The Silver Lounge Bar is straight across.

DSC_0223_zps6b493642.jpg?t=1399728115

 

Atrium ceiling and glass elevators that just seem to disappear when they pass Deck 7

DSC_0228_zps53891e02.jpg?t=1399728151

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Piazza del Dodge on Deck 6

DSC_0241_zpsdfac4d22.jpg?t=1399728178

 

Contemplating my choices of specialty coffee drinks

DSC_0243_zps0c3a0752.jpg?t=1399728207

 

Rich has a shirt that reads, "Life is short. Eat dessert first."

DSC_0244_zps6cc255e4.jpg?t=1399728238

 

One of two Gelato cases on the ship. The other is on Deck 14.

DSC_0246_zps39acb214.jpg?t=1399728267

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Central seating area of the Plazza

DSC_0247_zpsf06fb9c7.jpg?t=1399728315

 

Different angle. Ceiling lighting forms constellations at night.

DSC_0250_zpsa38bd468.jpg?t=1399728345

 

Shopping encircles the Plazza

DSC_0252_zps8db588d8.jpg?t=1399728379

 

Pantheon Theatre on Deck 6 and 7. Captain welcoming guests in each language represented onboard. It took awhile!

DSC_0261_zpsb9d86d27.jpg?t=1399728407

 

Chandelier in the Golden Jazz Bar on Deck 7

DSC_0272_zpsabc8ad64.jpg?t=1399728434

Edited by Mrs. Squirrel
Picture Added

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

After exploring the ship and a snack for lunch, we headed back to the cabin to change for our spa appointments. I had pre-booked the Relaxing Touch Package. This included, according to the description:

 

Personal Consultation

Welcome Herbal Tea

Bali Massage for 30 Minutes

Entrance to the Thermal Spa for the duration of the cruise

 

I should have been allowed to reserve this via MSC online, which then would have allowed me to pay for it with my onboard account and use that $100 spending toward MSC club points. However, it wasn't available, because MSC has the worst, buggiest web site around!

 

I ended up calling an MSC customer service rep prior to the cruise. This gal worked from home answering US customer service calls. She was nice and efficient. She got this package plus the Doremi non-alcoholic drink package booked for us. I wanted this spa package, because it was a better deal than just paying the $79 per couple for the Thermal Spa Cruise pass. ($49 for one person). During the cruise, the spa did offer day and hour passes for those who just wanted to try it.

 

The Thermal Spa area is in a separate wing, port side, near the yoga room. The thermal area consisted of a Men's sauna and steam room and Women's sauna and steam room. They are not coed. There is also a couple of showers near the hot rooms, a Men's and Women's locker area with showers and restrooms, and a small common lounging area with about eight wicker loungers overlooking the sea. The loungers do not adjust. They are shaped like an elongated, sideways S.

 

We arrived early to our appointments to enjoy the thermal area beforehand. We did not receive a personal consultation nor were we welcomed with our herbal teas. We did get a paper card to use for the week to get into the Thermal area and both turned in our key cards for locker keys on safety pins.

 

The welcome are was a little chaotic. Right in the middle of the main reception area for the spa, in front of the spa tea, juice and smoothie bar, there are t-shirts and hats for sale. :confused: There seemed to be no set procedure when clients came in for appointments. :confused: I had called ahead of time and asked if robes were available. I was told to bring mine from the cabin. :confused: We asked if they had any flavored water while we waited. I got a knit brow look and the gal went back to an area behind the spa bar (assume the kitchen/prep area) and came back with two glasses of water. Why they wouldn't give you water from the bar was a mystery, but the effect was that she had just gone to a faucet and gotten us water. We drink tap water all the time, that's not the problem, but it was weird in a spa to not have flavored water especially when they have this huge, huge spa bar right there. I assume this is to increase sales of the specialty teas and drinks? Drinking plenty of water after a massage is important so. . . :confused:

 

After double checking our time, we decided to just hit the loungers until our therapists came for us. We each had a nice massage and tipped our therapists extra. They give you tiny, temporary undies to wear for your massage. They come packaged like a shower cap. They are one size fits most and we were on the upper limits of that most. My husband didn't know what to do with his afterwards, so he shoved them into his robe pocket and showed me the men's version when we got back to the cabin. Lord have mercy! Talk about a crotch strap, lol! :eek: His were hysterical! In my treatment room, there were some undies previously discarded in the trash, so that's the only way I knew what to do with them after the treatment. I am sorry if this is TMI, but you need to be mentally prepared for this prior to your treatment.

 

Post massage, we hit the sauna and steam rooms. These areas are really nice. I had never been in a steam room before. My only regret is that we never got back there during the week to enjoy this perk again. Lovely!

 

We relaxed on the loungers for awhile then hit the locker rooms to get our stuff. I had only briefly seen this area while putting my bag in the locker. Now I had a chance to really look around. The locker area is ridiculously small for the size of the ship. It also has no, zero, zip amenities for ladies like a basket of hand lotion, hairspray, gel, deodorant, feminine products, etc. things you will find in other spas to help get ready in case you forgot something. The showers did not appear to have any special jets or shower heads. They looked just like the cabin showers, just a little bigger stalls. The locker area in design and amenities was a disappointment.

 

After collecting our stuff, we went back out to the main area and asked if we could get our herbal teas. We were told to wait at the spa bar and they would help us. The menu has color coded items depending on if you want relaxation, detox, good skin, etc. We decided we'd like to try the relaxation tea. When we ordered with the spa bar attendant, he said that our package didn't include those teas, our tea was in the back. We had to wait until someone from the reception desk went back to the kitchen to get our tea. Again. . .:confused:

 

Our overall impression of the spa is that it is a beautiful space, minus the retail right in the center which absolutely doesn't belong in a spa, but empty of the service, atmosphere or relaxing touches that we have encountered in spas both at sea and on land. It did not welcome us nor entice us to return to spend more money, as we usually do. That is a shame for MSC. It could be so much better with some changes. Spa point, without a doubt, goes to NCL.

Edited by Mrs. Squirrel

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I just remembered that we did not have a snack for lunch on our first sea day. We went to the Black Crab Dining room for lunch. We arrived about 1:30pm and were seated with two other couples. One of the couples was from New Hampshire and the other from Italy. We became fast friends with the Italian couple and saw them throughout the ship and at ports during the week. More on our new friends will come later.

 

To conclude our first sea day, after our massages and the sauna, steam and showers, we hit our balcony for awhile and decided that neither of us felt like dressing up to go to the MDR. Instead, we ate dinner in the buffet then took in the show Wonderland. This is MSC's version of the Alice in Wonderland tale. Excellent!

 

A little more ship exploration after the show, then off to bed to read for an hour or so before changing the clocks back one hour and lights out. Tomorrow was Falmouth, Jamaica and we had a wonderful, independent excursion planned! :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Forum Jump
    • Categories
      • Explore the Night. Sweepstakes - Enter now for a chance to win win a free cruise for two with Azamara Club Cruises!
      • Forum Assistance
      • New Cruisers
      • Cruise Lines “A – O”
      • Cruise Lines “P – Z”
      • River Cruising
      • ROLL CALLS
      • Digital Photography & Cruise Technology
      • Member Cruise Reviews
      • Community Contests
      • Special Interest Cruising
      • Cruise Discussion Topics
      • UK Cruising
      • Australia & New Zealand Cruisers
      • North American Homeports
      • Ports of Call
      • Cruise Conversations
×