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MSC Divina Transatlantic - Barcelona to Miami, 28 November to 14 December 2023


Best Cat Mom
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We are currently on the Divina in a Yacht Club Deluxe Suite (YC1) on Deck 15 on the Port side (which is the odd room numbers). We departed from Barcelona yesterday, Tuesday, 28 November, for a 16-night transatlantic crossing. Here is our itinerary:

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I will try to share our experiences on this cruise on a day-to-day basis, though the internet is expected to be challenging during some days of the crossing. Feel free to ask any questions, and I'll do my best to answer.

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 I am really looking forward to your review and may have lots of questions as we are sailing on Divina in February in a port side YC1 on deck 15.  I am use to StarLink Internet on Celebrity so your experience with Internet on Divina is of interest. 

 

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4 hours ago, Best Cat Mom said:

I will try to share our experiences on this cruise on a day-to-day basis, though the internet is expected to be challenging during some days of the crossing. Feel free to ask any questions, and I'll do my best to answer.

Do you know how full the ship and YC are for this cruise?

 

Sometimes the TA's with MSC can be with a lower passenger count and lower staffing so it will be interesting to hear how it goes.

 

Hope you have a great cruise though.

 

If the Butler Elvin & his assistant Ari are still on board I hope you will be fortunate enough to have them assigned to you.

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We boarded yesterday in Barcelona. The ship was due into port at 1pm so we decided to arrive at noon in case the ship was early. This was our first time using the Port of Barcelona so we were not sure what to expect. There were no signs indicating which ship was in which terminal (no electronic board like in Miami), but we quickly found that Divina would be using Terminal A (at least for this time, not sure if MSC always uses A in Barcelona).

 

There was not a marked area for YC at the bag check. There were only a few passengers there and 4 desks to check in just outside the terminal entrance doors. I asked about YC check in and they indicated that we could check in at any of the desks. They checked our embarkation forms, collected our health questionnaires, gave us a Priority card (presumably to indicate YC)  and our bags were tagged with YC labels. We proceeded inside directly to the security screening. I think I recall 4 security lines, only one of which was open. There was no line and we passed through quickly. Our 2 bottles of water and bags of snacks were not confiscated. We saw a dozen or so people seated in the terminal. After we showed the Priority card, we were brought to another area near the baggage claim where about 15 people where already seated.

 

We watched the ship maneuver into the port and dock at nearly exactly 1pm. We saw our priority area gain more people, close to about 50. At just before 2pm, someone came over to gather the YC passengers to take us to the "VIP area." We expected all of the folks seated with us to be YC, but there were only 10 of us that were moving. I guess the others were Aurea or Diamond? I believe that those passengers also receive some type of priority boarding, though I'm not sure because we've only traveled in YC on MSC.

 

The VIP area held a total of ~25 comfortably. Within 15 minutes, we were checked in and by 2:35pm the other 6 people were completely checked in with photos taken, cruise cards issued and newspaper selections confirmed. The other 2 people were "ejected" from the lounge. We heard them say that their cabin was 9010. I had thought that perhaps they had one of the duplex suites that are considered YC even though they were out of the YC enclave. Apparently not. Perhaps there was a language barrier and they thought that Voyagers Club was being called instead of Yacht Club?

 

Our cruise cards did not have our Voyager Club status listed. They stated that they did not have access to that info in the port, but our cards could be updated once onboard. They told this to everyone as it seemed that all of us had some type of upper VC status that was not displayed.

We were onboard and in the Top Sail Lounge by 2:45pm. Pepe, the YC Director, was making his rounds to greet each couple of our YC boarding group. We thought we recognized him and later confirmed this. Pepe, whose full name is Guiseppe Terminiello, was the YC maitre d' on our very first MSC cruise which was on Seaside back in 2018. It was wonderful to be greeted by someone who remembered us. 🙂

 

Then on our way out of Top Sail to our cabin, we saw that the YC bartender was Hubert, who was the One Deck bartender on our October 2022 Divina sailing. He greeted us with a big smile and we again felt the hospitality of YC. Seeing those familiar faces is always a great thing. 🙂

 

More to come…

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1 hour ago, Mark_T said:

Do you know how full the ship and YC are for this cruise?

We've heard from the Maître d' of Le Muse that YC only has 78 guests for this sailing, which is nearly half of full capacity. (Divina has 69 staterooms; at double capacity that is 138 guests.)

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19 minutes ago, Best Cat Mom said:

We've heard from the Maître d' of Le Muse that YC only has 78 guests for this sailing, which is nearly half of full capacity. (Divina has 69 staterooms; at double capacity that is 138 guests.)

Much as I expected then.

 

We were last onboard Divina in June this year and will be back in February, greatly looking forward to that.

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22 hours ago, Mark_T said:

Do you know how full the ship and YC are for this cruise?

...

If the Butler Elvin & his assistant Ari are still on board I hope you will be fortunate enough to have them assigned to you.

 

Elvin is indeed our Butler. He just boarded with us in Barcelona to start a new contract after a few months at home. He is still getting over the jetlag and told us that he barely slept last night -- but he was still very attentive. 🙂 Our Junior Butler is Jewell, though I'm not sure if Elvin and Jewell are paired for all of Elvin's cabins.

 

Elvin told us that the whole ship is only at about 50-60% capacity right now. We have a few stops before the crossing but he didn't think that they'd be many more people embarking.

 

 

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On 11/29/2023 at 2:50 PM, DaKahuna said:

I am use to StarLink Internet on Celebrity so your experience with Internet on Divina is of interest.

We have free WiFi in YC, but it is only at the "browse" level. So far it has met our expectations from past cruises and needs on this one.

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16 minutes ago, Best Cat Mom said:

Elvin is indeed our Butler. He just boarded with us in Barcelona to start a new contract after a few months at home.

Perfect, he did say he was expecting to be back onboard before our Feb cruise, so good to hear he was right.

 

I know he will take great care of you, once he is over his jet-lag 🙂

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Continuing our Day 1...

 

We returned to our cabin and by 3:45pm, 3 of our 4 bags had been delivered to our cabin. We had already ordered an MSC pizza by room service, anticipating that we'd need some sustenance to help with the unloading. We grabbed two glasses of chianti from the Top Sail Lounge and unpacked. The last bag still had not arrived when we finished so we went to the TS Lounge for drinks.

 

Around 7ish, I went back to the cabin to change for dinner. Still no sign of our fourth bag. Given that bag had all of our toiletries, I was starting to get quite worried. MSC doesn't usually have a big selection of that type of everyday items on board so if the bag was truly lost, we might be waiting over a week to get to Puerto Rico which is the most likely place we could do a like-for-like replacement of items. In addition, this was the only bag that did not have an Apple Air Tag on it so we could not determine its location. We still hadn't sailed away but knowing it was somewhere on the ship and not still in the terminal (or in the ocean!) would have given us some peace. Waiting for the bag but knowing it was coming is a big difference from having no idea if we'd ever see that bag again.

 

While I was getting ready for dinner, I had a thought: maybe something in our toiletries was flagged by security? That would be a plausible explanation for the delay and would mean that our stuff was not lost. I decided that was the likely reason and as Best Cat Dad came back to the room, I shared that thought with him when he was barely in the door. And the YC Head Butler was just outside our room at that same moment and told us that indeed our bag was in Security. He walked BCD down to Security to retrieve the bag. Pepe, our YC Director, happened to be in the Security room at that time as well. He proceeded to give a stern lecture to the staff there, stressing that YC passengers should never have to wait so long to be notified of questions with their bags.

 

Bag was retrieved by BCD and they both returned to our cabin. (A Leatherman tool was the issue and BCD will get it back at the end of our cruise.) We proceeded to dinner at Le Muse, which is at the back (aft) of the ship on Divina and other Fantasia-class MSC ships. We've been on Divina for two previous sailings so we knew exactly how we wanted to walk to Le Muse. I recommend that others in YC for the first time on Divina have a butler escort them on the first night so they don't get lost in the maze of a new ship.

 

More to come…

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1 hour ago, Best Cat Mom said:

We have free WiFi in YC, but it is only at the "browse" level. So far it has met our expectations from past cruises and needs on this one.

 

 Thank you.  I normally do a live review when I cruise and include lots of pictures.  Are you able to post pictures easily with just the browse WiFi?  I have no problem with paying to upgrade so I can post pictures. 

 

 In a later post your mentioned you had a preferred way to get from the YC area forward to Le Muse which is aft on deck 15.  From looking at the deck plans, we had intended to either take deck 15 and use the port side walking track or to drop down to deck 13 and walk the interior, if it was very windy, before going back up to deck 15 to Le Muse.  What is the route that you prefer? 

 

Was Le Muse open for lunch on embarkation day? 

 

Do you know if you can order off menu items in Le Muse, e.g. something from the MDR, or are you strictly limited to what's on the menu?  

 

 

 

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Day 1 conclusion…

 

MSC posts the menus for each day online, allowing scanning of a QR code to view each meal for that day. Subsequent days can be viewed by simply refreshing the page. Unfortunately, we missed grabbing a screen capture of the first night's dinner menu so I'll add images from the YC display stand instead. We'll try to use the online images for the rest of the cruise -- they're so much easier to read without shadows, fingers, etc.

 

BCD had the Burgundy Snails as a starter for our first night's dinner. When we were on Seaside in September, we saw that Burgundy Snails had been added to the Always Available section of the YC dinner menu. On this cruise, the snails are not listed there so BCD made sure to order them when he saw them. We had really liked having them available every night on Seaside -- I think we ordered them 4 or more times over the 11-nights -- but this may be dependent on cruise location. We'll see if they appear as Always Available on our next Divina cruise, which is in the Caribbean in April. We hope so!

 

I chose the Steamed octopus carpaccio as my starter. I love the octopus on MSC! I haven't seen the octopus soup yet at lunch which is also one of my favorites, but I'm so looking forward to having it again. Sadly, we don't stop at Ocean Cay this sailing, so I won't be able to enjoy the octopus salad. Perhaps some version of it will show up in Le Muse? Fingers crossed!

 

We had champagne while perusing the menus and then Sauvignon Blanc with our starters.

For our entrees, we both ordered the Angus beef fillet Oscar-style. I have a severe gluten allergy (not fully celiac, but I am extremely bothered by gluten) so my Oscar-style was crab meat on the side and no hollandaise sauce. The beef was cooked perfectly and we both ate too much of our entrees. 🙂

 

We enjoyed a chianti with our entrees and continued with it over desert. BCD had the Crêpe Suzette and I indulged in some coffee ice cream with a shot of Kahlua on top. The crepes are a special presentation prepared by the maître d' in the restaurant dining room. We don't normally order deserts as we tend to prefer nuts and cheese after dinner if anything. But being our first night on the ship and having had only pizza for lunch, we indulged.

 

Overall, we had a great first dinner. We never felt rushed, and were among the last to leave the restaurant at nearly 10pm.

 

We headed back to the TS lounge for some after dinner drinks and live music. Unfortunately, the piano and saxophone duo that we'd enjoyed from before dinner had already departed. This was the first time we've had a saxophonist in the TS lounge. I hope that they repeat in our lounge a few more times this cruise.

 

Day 2 next…

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40 minutes ago, DaKahuna said:

Are you able to post pictures easily with just the browse WiFi?

I was able to post the itinerary and dinner menus with no issues just with our browse WiFi. I have been told that we may lose connectivity during the times we are far from land, but I won't know that for a few more days. You'll know if I can't post when everyone starts asking what happened to this thread. LOL

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7 minutes ago, Best Cat Mom said:

I was able to post the itinerary and dinner menus with no issues just with our browse WiFi. I have been told that we may lose connectivity during the times we are far from land, but I won't know that for a few more days. You'll know if I can't post when everyone starts asking what happened to this thread. LOL

 

 Thank you.  Really enjoying your review.  

 

 p.s. tell BCD not to feel bag about the Leatherman.  He's not the only one to have forgotten to remove one from his luggage. 

 

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2 hours ago, DaKahuna said:

In a later post your mentioned you had a preferred way to get from the YC area forward to Le Muse which is aft on deck 15.  From looking at the deck plans, we had intended to either take deck 15 and use the port side walking track or to drop down to deck 13 and walk the interior, if it was very windy, before going back up to deck 15 to Le Muse.  What is the route that you prefer?

For breakfast, we walk on Deck 15 since that is a direct route from YC to Le Muse. If the weather is bad (raining) or really windy, we might walk through Deck 7 -- which is how we almost always walk for dinner. Deck 7 takes you through bars, the pizza restaurant, the photo "place" (I have no idea what the proper name is). We'll take the elevator just outside of YC to 7, walk all the way to just before the Black and White club/disco (never been in there so not sure of the type of venue) and take either of the two middle elevators back up to 15 (the left-most and right-most elevators only go to 14). Le Muse is to the right just off the elevators.

 

Once we chose a cabin-only deck to walk, thinking that with the carpets and simple long hallways it would be a good choice instead of 15, especially in my heels. However, all the debris -- room steward carts, used plates from room service, etc. -- made us realize just how nice YC is and we never did that again. 😉

 

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2 hours ago, DaKahuna said:

Was Le Muse open for lunch on embarkation day?

Well, technically -- yes. But for our embarkation day, the ship did not dock in Barcelona until 1pm. We could not make it to Le Muse by 1:30pm but everyone already on board could dine there. Every cruise we've taken where the ship docks in the morning, we've had lunch in the YC restaurant on embarkation day.

 

(For Mediterranean cruises, the ship has passengers embarking and disembarking at just about every port. It makes for a less hectic day without complete turnover of everyone at once. We wish that the US cruises could also follow this model, but I doubt that will ever happen.)

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2 hours ago, DaKahuna said:

Do you know if you can order off menu items in Le Muse, e.g. something from the MDR, or are you strictly limited to what's on the menu?

I have been offered the MDR gluten-free menu and Le Muse staff would need to fetch it from there for me. We have not yet asked for anything else non-standard, but it does usually depend on the maître d' and/or the chef. Advance notice is always best -- the more notice, the more chance they can fulfill your request.

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When we were on the MSC Splendida last year in YC, the waiters for our table learned of DW's slight problem with gluten. Once we mentioned that she had special attention - even including the maitre d'. Fortunately she can tolerate a bit of gluten so was able to try certain items, but it took a lot of convincing them that her intolerance was not that bad. Having the three as our waiters made dining a real treat!

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9 hours ago, Best Cat Mom said:

For breakfast, we walk on Deck 15 since that is a direct route from YC to Le Muse. If the weather is bad (raining) or really windy, we might walk through Deck 7 -- which is how we almost always walk for dinner. Deck 7 takes you through bars, the pizza restaurant, the photo "place" (I have no idea what the proper name is). We'll take the elevator just outside of YC to 7, walk all the way to just before the Black and White club/disco (never been in there so not sure of the type of venue) and take either of the two middle elevators back up to 15 (the left-most and right-most elevators only go to 14). Le Muse is to the right just off the elevators.

 

 Interesting about using Deck 7.  Is that the way the Butler takes you or did you learn that one on your own? 

 

9 hours ago, Best Cat Mom said:

 

Once we chose a cabin-only deck to walk, thinking that with the carpets and simple long hallways it would be a good choice instead of 15, especially in my heels. However, all the debris -- room steward carts, used plates from room service, etc. -- made us realize just how nice YC is and we never did that again. 😉

 

 

 Ah, Good point.  I would have thought it would be easier to go through one of the passenger decks vs having to deal with the crowds on Deck 6 or 7.  

 

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8 hours ago, Best Cat Mom said:

I have been offered the MDR gluten-free menu and Le Muse staff would need to fetch it from there for me. We have not yet asked for anything else non-standard, but it does usually depend on the maître d' and/or the chef. Advance notice is always best -- the more notice, the more chance they can fulfill your request.

 

It was more a matter of curiosity than anything else.  I am certain that if we presented ourselves to the Maitre'd at one of the MDR's or ask the YC Concierge, we could get a table in the MDR.  I am still going over the menu's I am finding on-line to (1) figure out when we want to use the pre-cruse package I purchased for Galaxy and Butcher's Cut, and (2) if there is any other time we may prefer the MDR menu over Le Muse.  

 

 Your response have been most helpful.  Thank you. 

 

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6 hours ago, DaKahuna said:

 Interesting about using Deck 7.  Is that the way the Butler takes you or did you learn that one on your own? 

The Deck 7 route is the one we use as well, it avoids wind/rain/heat/cold and lets you see more of the rest of the ship.

 

The Deck 15 route is fine when the pools are not busy, so pretty much just breakfast time, but I'd suggest walking that route in reverse the first time so you can more easily identify the door to use to get back inside at the right point for Le Muse.

 

 

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