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Mrs. Squirrel

Review-MSC Divina Cruise 4-26-14

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MDR Food Photos:

 

Chicken Quesadilla with Guacamole and Salsa

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Mushroom Puff Pastry

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

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Scallop Polenta

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Shrimp Cocktail

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

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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!

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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

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During the Tirimasu Parade on Italian Theme Night

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Our Head Waiter having Fun

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Prepping for the Baked Alaska Parade on the Second Gala Night

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Our Assistant Waiter with our Baked Alaska

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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.

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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.

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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:

 

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

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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!

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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

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

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Just one of many murals showing old Movie stars

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Silver Lounge on Deck 6

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Extreme close up of the Swarovski crystals in the atrium stairs

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

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

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Piazza del Dodge on Deck 6

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Contemplating my choices of specialty coffee drinks

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

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

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Central seating area of the Plazza

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Different angle. Ceiling lighting forms constellations at night.

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Shopping encircles the Plazza

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

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Chandelier in the Golden Jazz Bar on Deck 7

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Edited by Mrs. Squirrel
Picture Added

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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

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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! :)

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I am enjoying your review! looking forward to more!

 

Thank you so much for your memory, it has been most enjoyable!

 

You are both welcome. I am having fun remembering our trip.

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

 

Thank you for chiming in. That is what I love about CC, the exchange of and building upon information to help make all our cruises better!

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Thank you for chiming in. That is what I love about CC, the exchange of and building upon information to help make all our cruises better!

 

Mattingly23, Mrs. Squirrel, thank you both for the specification! One more happy future new cruiser! :D

 

Do you remember if there were many tables for 4 in the MDR? My daughters don't speak English fluently. It will be weird to hold a conversation between the 4 of us at dinner with other guests probably not understanding what we are saying and vise versa, for my kids not to contribute easily to the conversation or properly answering questions....

Edited by 250373

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I never saw a table for four, but that doesn't mean they don't exist. I would suggest that you make sure that MSC has your preferred language listed on your reservation and your request for a table for four. Hopefully then, if you don't get a table for four, they can match you with another family who speaks your children's (and I assume your) first language.

 

Then, check with the Maitre d' early on embarkation day (he was in Black Crab for our sailing) to check to see if this was done and/or to ask for changes if it wasn't.

 

According to the cruise director, about 90% of our sailing were cruisers whose first language wasn't English, so this will be much easier to do on MSC than other lines.

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Again, thank you so much to take the time to share this info. Much appreciated! :)

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On our previous MSC cruises in the med (Divina & Preziosa) we have been given a table for 4 both times, with no special request made. This was Me, Mother, Wife & Daughter (listed in order of importance, obviously) ;)

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On our previous MSC cruises in the med (Divina & Preziosa) we have been given a table for 4 both times, with no special request made. This was Me, Mother, Wife & Daughter (listed in order of importance, obviously) ;)

 

That's good to know, thanks.

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Thank you so, so much for an honest, easy to read, and enjoyable review so far.

 

It is nice that you are "de-mything" all the Debbie downers on this board.

I was starting to second guess my decision, but not anymore.

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Mattingly23, Mrs. Squirrel, thank you both for the specification! One more happy future new cruiser! :D

 

Do you remember if there were many tables for 4 in the MDR? My daughters don't speak English fluently. It will be weird to hold a conversation between the 4 of us at dinner with other guests probably not understanding what we are saying and vise versa, for my kids not to contribute easily to the conversation or properly answering questions....

 

We were assigned a table for 4 without asking. We did a group high five when we sat down.

 

It's definitely preferable, as some of the larger tables are squished. We sat at one for breakfast and there wasn't even enough room for the waiters to walk around the table to properly serve people.

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Great review so far, very informative! My husband and I are going in Nov. and were thinking about doing the same spa package/massage that you did, for the same reason...the cost versus purchasing a steam/sauna pass only. I had a question for you though, is it not a couples massage where you are in the same room? I had assumed we would be together since we would buy the couples rate package. This plus the fact that the steam/saunas are not co-ed might be enough to keep us from purchasing the package at all.

 

Thanks for all the information you've given thus far! It has certainly helped us.

 

 

Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk

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