MSC Divina is a beautiful ship sailing from Miami to Bahamas and Caribbean all year round. We are travel agents and took three days familiarization cruise to Nassau and Half Moon Cay. Embarkation process was very smooth and fast. Our cabin was ready and we found it much larger then we used to see on NCL ships, for example. The upper deck has two large 6 ft deep pools and one of them has retractable roof over it, plus a kids pool. There are many hot tubs around pool area as well. Many different bars around the ship serve good variety of drinks and they are reasonably priced. Two main dining rooms serve breakfast, lunch and dinner. The dinner sittings are at 6 pm and 9 pm. Buffet on deck 14 also serve breakfast, lunch and dinner. Good size casino is on deck 6 and ready to take your donations. Main atrium stairs are decorated with Swarovski crystals. Kids club conduct various activities with children of all ages and open till 10:30 pm. It has game room with sophisticated machines and drive simulator. We did not try it but it looks very interesting. Piazza di Dogia resembles an Italian town square with bar and delicious deserts and gelato of many flavors, just like you would have it in Italy. Various performers play popular music at the piazza most of the day. There are several lounges to choose from for your late night entertainment, as well as pool parties under the stars.
Entertainment crew is highly professional. Nightly shows in the theater are superb, better then I have seen on other ships. Very elaborate costumes and decorations. No food or drinks are served before or during the performance in the theater and no ruffle tickets sale going on before it, as they do it on NCL ships. Instead, the entertainment crew interacts with the public before the show, which makes it fun and not boring to wait for the start of the show.
The company maintains the Mediterranean feel on the ship with lots of Italian flavors. Many European guests are on the ship and English is not always spoken widely. We have heard complains about some crew members have difficulties with English, but we never had any problems communicating with crew or other guests.
Food service is well organized, however, the variety and quality of food is way below expectations. The main dining room dinner food is good, nothing special, but good. The buffet food is simply bad, poorly prepared and not seasoned food. One lunch they served Indian food that was really good, but the next day it was Spanish paella that was more like a rice pilaf. There is not much choices in the buffet at all and all dishes are bland. MSC management is still trying to find the middle ground between maintaining Mediterranean flavors in their food and satisfying an American cravings for burgers and hot dogs. There is a huge section with pizzas and pasta dishes in the buffet, but they still lacking proper flavors. They have two specialty restaurants that require reservation and extra charge: Italian and Steak House (which is pretty much Italian too). There is a late night pizzeria serving very good pizza for late night snack. Deserts are the best. No matter where you get them, any kind of deserts are delicious. And, of course, gelato.
We made two stops: Nassau and Half Moon Cay. Half Moon Cay also known as Little San Salvador is a private island that belongs to Holland America. The island is equipped with everything and has beautiful long beach with two bars and a food service facility. Guests are shuttled to the island by tenders and we did not wait long for our turn. No need to carry beach towels with you, they will give them to you on the island. They have some organized activities on the beach, most noticeable is volleyball.
We visited the exclusive Yacht Club area of the ship located on two upper decks in the front of the ship with bar and pool. They have 24 hrs concierge and large rooms with sofas and good size bathrooms. However, one has to be aware that rooms facing the front of the ship do not have real balconies, but instead the seating area with glass front and opening on top like a moon roof. I would not be happy to pay premium for Yacht Club room and have a balcony like that.
Smoking is prohibited throughout the ship, even on balconies and casino. It is strictly enforced. The only smoking area is inside the cigar room and one small area on deck 14.
We were also pleased to see that the ship security is provided by Israeli boys and girls.
Our overall impression of this ship is positive (except for the buffet food) and we plan to take another longer cruise on Divina later this year.
KIDS SAIL FREE all the time on MSC cruises and that makes it a very good value for families with kids.