MSC Divina – November 23 - 30, 2013
Yacht Club YC1 Suite 15010
Embarkation: We arrived at the port at about 11:30 AM. The yacht club check-in process went quite smoothly. Upon driving up to cruise terminal F, we checked our bags with the staff at the Yacht Club tent. We were then escorted through security and up to the second floor when we entered the Yacht Club waiting room. Our check-in was completed by port hostesses who verified our travel documents and established our on-board account. Within about 45 minutes we were escorted aboard by a butler who showed us around and introduced us to the concierge. (I will note that while in the Yacht Club waiting room, I did hear a few people complaining. They felt that the wait was too long and were complaining that we should be aboard already. These issued were unfounded as our e-documents did state that boarding was at 4pm so we were all extremely early and allowed to board several hours ahead of schedule.) We made one quite stop to the candy shop La Caramella, on deck 5 to see the youth staff to get our younger child safety ID bracelet issued prior to heading up to the Yacht Club.
Room: As would be expected Divina is a beautiful ship kept sparkling clean by her unflappable crew. Our suite was no exception. I chose 15010 because of its location very close to the concierge lounge door. Our suite included a lovely bathroom with tub/shower combo, a pull out sofa which was roomy enough to sleep a 13 year old and a 10 year old, flat panel TV, Wii, mini-bar, balcony with 2 seats and a drink table, toiletries, bathrobes, slippers, fruit bowl, and Spumanti on ice. Throughout the cruise in the evenings we would receive additional little sweet treats like chocolate covered strawberries and macaroons. Our mini bar was restocked twice a day with; chocolate covered peanuts, salted peanuts, mixed nuts, potato chips. As well as 1 can each of Coke, Sprite, Fanta, & Schwepps. Beer in the minibar was Budweiser, Bud Light, Corona and Corona and the liquor bottles included Absolute, Gordon’s & Johnny Walker.
In Room Pizza Delivery: Another item that Yacht Club receives complimentary. I believe the rest of the ship pays $8.50 per pie. The pizza arrives about 10 minutes after ordering and is fresh out of the oven hot! It is so good, and they are just like the size and taste of those you buy in Italy! Delivery runs from 6:00pm to 12:00am.
Top Sail Lounge: I was very pleased to discover 1 butler and 3 Top Sail staff members that I had met this past May on the Splendida, it’s always nice to encounter familiar smiles! The Top Sail lounge serves as the main concierge area where they have a bar, plenty of tables and comfy sofas and a nice little buffet bar. The buffet bar serves continental breakfast in the mornings and light aperitifs and desserts throughout the day. High Tea is also served in the afternoons and in the evenings they have a live piano player. For us, we always bring travel games with us and we enjoy sitting here and playing games when weather is yucky or we’re just tired of running around.
The One bar & pool: Located on deck 18 stern, you get there by accessing an elevator that takes you up to deck 18. The pool itself is small but not inadequate with two hot tubs alongside of it. There are plenty of lounge chairs (never a shortage) as well as plenty of tables and chairs. To your left on entering The One pool deck is the area allowed for smoking with lounges and tables. To the right, are the pools and hot tub and on the other side of those are The One Bar & buffet. The buffet serves a small hot breakfast until 11:00am and then lunch from 12:00pm to 3:00 pm. After that, they serve aperitifs and desserts. Soft serve ice cream is available in the afternoons. The One Pool area is a wonderful break from the typical ship pool chaos. The only thing that I would change is that since this is where the only Yacht Club smoking area is, it was a little annoying that lounges and tables were put up around 7:00 pm and that left nowhere to relax and have a cigarette if you were a smoker.
Le Muse: This is the Yacht Club exclusive restaurant and is free seating (no early or late seating’s) and located on deck 15 aft. The atmosphere is refined and relaxing without feeling pretentious. The food is beautifully presented by a wait staff that is so attentive and friendly, they learn your preferences by your second visit. Your meal can contain anywhere from one to and unlimited amount of courses and here again, you drinks are free. Le Muse is open for breakfast, lunch & dinner at set times.
Youth Clubs: Youth clubs are available for 4 different age groups. Mini Club: ages 3-6, Junior Club: ages 7-11, Young Teen: ages 12-14 and Teen: ages 15-17. Because of our children’s ages, we only used the Junior and Young Teen clubs.
Mini & Junior club hours are from 9:00am – 11:00pm on port days (and yes you can leave your child in the club while you go ashore although, I would never risk that) and on sea days the hours are almost the same but there are hour long breaks for lunch at 1:00pm and dinner at 5:00pm. There are a wide variety of activities included little trips around the ship to other lounges and sports areas. On some nights they attend the evenings show. There are also several opportunities to do the Cinema 4D with the club. The staff also takes the kids to dinner each evening at 7:00pm giving adults a change at date night. In addition to regular club hours, they also have Kids Around the Clock which is their late night activities from 11:00pm to 2:00am. Note: unlike other cruise lines, these late night services are completely free – I have paid at least $10 an hour on late night babysitting on other cruises so this was quite refreshing.
Young Teen club for my daughter who is 13, was a little bit of a letdown. The hours on sea days are from 9:00am – 1:00pm, 3:00pm – 5:00pm & 8:00pm – Midnight. On Port days the hours are 3:00pm – 5:00pm & 6:00pm – Midnight. That being said it is still a come and go as you wish club and the activities are much less structured. While the young teens enjoy having a bit of newfound freedom on the ship, they are still at quite an awkward stage where it is not easy for them to just join right in and a little more structure in the activities would help.
Main Pool Areas: We didn’t end up using the main pools more than once but I will say that they are clean and well designed. The solarium style pool Le Serine has a retractable roof which is open weather permitting never seems to get very crowded at all. The Aqua Park main pool is just like any other main pool deck out there, overcrowded and not enough loungers. There is also a small pool located on deck 15 stern called the Garden Pool which seem quieter. We never even saw the Top 18 Solarium pool so I can’t say anything about that.
Buffet Calumat & Manitou: Overall the buffet was a delight. Each day for breakfast lunch and dinner, there are a wide variety of dishes and while you may not like everything, you will definitely like something! Note for those of you with kids, the buffet cheeseburgers are the best of any cruise we have ever encountered.
Aurea Spa: After boarding the ship I realized with all the hustle and bustle getting ready for the cruise, I had forgotten to get my son’s hair cut! Made him an appointment and they did a great job and of cost $12 plus a 15% tip. My husband and I also opted for a couples massage later in the week. The cost was $289 (this includes the 15% tip) and while some will say that’s high, I have paid more including tips at other resorts and on other ships. However, if I had I waited until the last day I could have saved 40% since they were running a sale for 40% off all spa services but then they may not have had an opening. If you’re thinking you can make an appointment earlier in the week and get the sale price, nope! They do keep track of when you make the appointments and the sales are for new appointments only.
New MSC Onboard Smart Phone App: MSC offers Wifi that you can pay for and activate internet access for a fee. But they also have a free website called MSC Divina Traveler. Through this app you can access the activity schedules, ship itinerary, excursions, and it also has a chat feature you can use to communicate with friends through which works in real time. It’s basically a cruising social app – very helpful & useful!
4D Experience: So fun! This activity runs $7 for adults and $5 for kids. They have about 4 different short movies, and they’re really cool for the kids! Check the weekly kids club schedules ahead of time for times when they bring the kids for free.
These things are minor issues or observances that we noticed on our cruise but that in no way had any adverse effect of our fantastic cruise.
The bowling in the Sports Bar was inoperable because it is programmed to accept euros and the ship is running on American currency. I’m sure that this will be rectified shortly.
On arrival at the ports there were no photographers at the gangway for souvenir photos. This was really fine for us as we don’t particularly like them but I know other cruisers do.
For Yacht Club passengers, there should be and express line for re-boarding at each port. While I am sure I sound spoiled asking for things like this, once you’ve cruised in the Yacht Club, you do become spoiled!
MSC should print the theme nights on your e-documents. This would be helpful for those who wish to dress the part for Italian Night (red white & green), 60’s 70’s & 80’s night, White night & 2 Gala nights. In addition, MSC should print which nights are Gala nights on the e-docs. We had planned on not doing the Gala thing this time around (been there, done that). But out of respect for our fellow passengers who did want to, we also planned to avoid the dining room. But then we found out that Thanksgiving Day was going to be the second Gala night. We couldn’t imagine not sitting down for a real family dinner on Thanksgiving so that left us scrambling last minute to try to put together outfits that would be appropriate. Basically, I would have just packed for it if MSC had stated that the holiday meal would be Gala night. Again, this is not a complaint but only our experience.
Overall, we were all very happy with our cruise vacation on the Divina. This was my second cruise with MSC and in the Yacht Club (sail on Splendida in May 2013) and both delivered a wonderful experience again! We can’t wait to sail away with them again!