We did a back to back on Divina beginning on Jan 18 for Eastern Caribbean followed by Jan 25 cruise to Western Caribbean. We got onto the ship in record time with no wait time at all. The experience was the best in all of our 30 plus cruises with many different cruise lines. This was our fifth and sixth time with MSC USA. We got to the port a little past noon and walked right onto this beautiful ship. We were met with smiles and welcomes. We were told that the cabins would be ready shortly and to go to lunch on deck 14. The ship is stunning, more beautiful than any other ship we have been on. The buffet was the best we have encountered also. The variety was incredible with endless selections. They had international fare which was either Thai or Indian each day. They had freshly carved meats, wonderful fresh pastas, wonderful breads, bavarian pretzels, and wonderful desserts. They had typical american fare with great MSC burger which was a thick patty of meat which seemed hand formed. The fries were crisp and hot. They had the best and most extensive salad bar. Fresh fruit abounded with cut up fruit, sliced fruit and whole fruits.
The food in the buffet remained top quality throughout the week for lunch or breakfast. I never went for dinner. The pizza was the best ever eaten on a cruise!
Our cabin was ready early and our luggage arrived within hours of embarkation. We had a great cabin, 10080 with a huge balcony. We asked the cabin steward for a lounge chair which he promptly brought. The cabin was nicely decorated with a huge mirror and padded head board. The bathroom was spacious for a cruise cabin with a great double door shower stall. The shower was big in comparison to other ships. They did supply body wash and shampoo in the shower. The cabin steward brought ice each day and even did a few great towel animals.
The shows were beyond fantastic. Each was a theatrical performance with costuming that was spectacular. We began with Witches of Paris which showed great dancing, singing, lighting, acrobatics...all trademarks of the finest entertainment that MSC is known for. True to MSC standards, this rated high and had audience participation with the cast interacting with the audience in many ways. This continued throughout each show which brought the audience into each show. True to MSC form was the entertainment group, the cruise director staff who also entertained pre-show with various funny things they did. This is a hallmark of MSC too! Each show was fantastic. The Wonderland show was full of dancing, singing and beautiful costuming. The Pirate show was by far a feast for the senses with wonderful acrobatics, body contortionists and so much more. It was pure entertainment delight. Their opera night was spectacular with a feast for the eyes and ears. Not only did they have great singers who sang great arias, they had dancers who performed with such grace, beauty and quality of dance. Costuming was wonderful too. Then we were entertained by a Michael Jackson show, a tribute to the great with wonderful dancing that you thought you were seeing him. The dancer transposed himself into Michael Jackson right before our eyes. His moves were great, staging was wonderful. The only criticism was the last show, a tribute to Frank Sinatra, where they did not sing Sinatra songs throughout. It was very strange to hear foreign voices singing iconic Sinatra songs. we thought this really did not capture the essence of Sinatra. Also, for the last show, it was a let down since it did not have all the bells the whistles all the other shows had. This was the only show I did not go back to see on our second cruise. All the others were so great I wanted to see them all again.
MSC has Americanized with longer buffet hours, but still serving lunches in the MDR even on port days. The food was great with really stand out dishes each night. Lobster nights were wonderful with split lobster tails with melted butter and the best baked alaska! They are the only cruise line we have sailed on that actually light theirs and do a parade. The baked Alaska is the best with multiple flavors of really great ice-cream( including pistacio, coconut, rum raisin, butter pecan). Each pasta dish on their menu was delightful with wonderful sauces and perfectly prepared pasta, freshly made onboard! They served the largest shrimp in shrimp cocktail and coconut shrimp dishes for lunch. The lasagna and every Italian dish was marvelous. The lamb and veal dishes were wonderful. We asked for fresh garlic bread one night and they would bring this delight to our table each night. We had the greatest waiter, Yudi, who served us in the Black Crab restaurant each night. Speaking of restaurants, they are beautiful, with beautiful colors and comfortable seating. The color schemes are wonderful with beautiful marble all over. Both MDR served breakfast, one closing at 9am and the other at 9:30AM giving you many options besides the buffet. We did prefer to go to the MDR for service which was great. Many thanks to Mario for promptly seating us and great service.
MSC has tons of dancing with lessons and many lounges to listen to great live music. The entertainment group also do trivia ( MSC gives the best prizes for winning also) and many interesting games around the pool. We were entertained all day if you want. For a quieter area, the infinity pool was beautiful. There are hot tubs all over the ship. The covered pool area seemed nice but I never used it, as I prefer to be outside.
Tendering was easy for Grand Cayman and Great Stirrup Cay. It was orderly and well done. I must mention that the buffet on the private island was one of the best we have had. They had pizza which was very good, hot dogs grilled well, fantastic burgers with all the toppings ( pickles, lettuce, cheese, onions...) grilled veggies which included red and orange peppers and eggplant, cous cous with veggies, pasta salad, potato salad, jerk chicken. For dessert they had wonderful huge chocolate chip cookies, brownies which were a combination banana cake with chips and nuts , which were actually very good, regular banana bread and fresh fruit which included watermelon and pineapple. They also served Lays potato chips in snack size bags. There was plenty of seating.
Disembarkation was as easy as embarkation. We left at 9:50 and were through customs with our bags at 10:05. Leaving an MSC cruise is always emotionally difficult for us--we have loved MSC now for 5 years and when our cruise ends it is always a sad moment.
In summary: the ship is wonderfully decorated, the staff is helpful and friendly, the food was amazing and the entertainment the finest ever seen on any cruise ship. The ship sparkled not only on the atrium stairs which are a sight to see but all over in cleanliness! Another wonderful MSC cruise, thank you MSC!!