My wife and I love to cruise, so we booked a cruise on the very new MSC Divina! Where do I Begin? Well first of all let me tell you that this was our 7th cruise, 2nd on MSC,and we absolutely LOVE MSC Divina!
We started out by booking our flight and hotel on our own ( I work for a national airline, which gives great discounts to employees). We flew from Salisbury, MD to Ft. Lauderdale and stayed at La Terrace 600 Plaza Hotel, which is right on the beach at Hollywood Beach. The stay there was very good and very reasonably priced. There was plenty of restaurants and nightly entertainment nearby. the next day, there was no problem finding a nice place to eat breakfast at a reasonable price. We implored the services of my dad, who lives in the area, to give us a ride down to Miami where we met our lovely lady Divina.
Checking in went very smoothly but then there was a long wait from the time we checked in to the time we were aloud to board the ship(between 1-2pm). There were not enough seats for us to sit, which made the time go so slow. However, once we boarded the ship, all that was forgotten. Divina shines with beauty and Grace, with crystal staircases, areas of marble columns and painted ceilings, and magnificent hallways. This is one of the most beautiful ships we have ever been on.
On to our cabin: Since we did arrive early, we did have to wait a short time , which we usually do when cruising, so we quickly found a bar that was open. After our afternoon refreshment, we went to our stateroom , which was now open. We did find the room just a tad smaller than the most that we have been in(a basic balcony), but is was quite sufficient for the two of us. We started cruising on a balcony and don't think that we could cruise on anything less. There is nothing like watching the scenery change as the island float by, while absorbing the wonderful sea air. The cabin was adequately equipped with all the right soaps, shampoos, body wash, and tiny shower. The Balcony was sufficient, but the view was Wonderful from the 13th deck. the only nuisance was the service carts in the hallways during the morning through mid afternoon.
Pools: we really enjoyed the indoor/outdoor forward pool. They have one of those retractable sky-lit ceilings, so we were able to enjoy the pool every day of our cruise. It was our favorite spot on the ship.
Service on the ship was adequate, but they could use one or two more poolside staff for waiting on bathers. I'm sure it is better at the Captain's Club pool, but we weren't in that section, so I couldn't comment on that private pool.
We made a daily trip to the Gym and used the ample amount of machines, even though we would sometimes have to wait a few minutes for the two ellipticals (they need more, sure). Always had plenty of towels, to wipe the equipment.
Entertainment: I cannot say enough to really express how much we enjoyed the entertainment in the Pantheon Theater. we were on a six night cruise, and we received Six Nights worth of Full Production Shows. These shows were every bit of Broadway quality as you can get on a cruise ship. Every cruise we have been on before would only have 2-3 nights of the full production, choreographed, singing, dancing shows, which we LOVE.
Excursions: EVERY Other Cruise Company Take Note: MSC does this very well! On the day of the port visit, the meeting place for for all excursions will be on the ship, where people can wait in comfort, out of the elements, until your group is ready to go. From there, your group is escorted off the ship (no trying to find the right way off the ship), and led to your transport vehicle.
We really like Cozumel and Grand Cayman. We have been to each three times, and do the same thing each time. In Cozumel, we go to Playa Mia, a beach-side water park that has a wonderful buffet and open bar. We discovered this place when our the sea was too rough for the excursion to the see-though kayaking/snorkel trip. The food there was wonderful, and the drinks were quite refreshing. In Grand Cayman, we have always gone to the Tiki Beach with the tour that has kayaking and snorkeling. First we kayak out to Governor's Beach, snorkel out to and back to Governor's Reef, and then kayak back. We get the workout we need with the fun in the water that we want. At both of these destinations, we see people from other cruise ships.
Dining: The Italians like to make dinner not just an occasion, but an event. All dinners have an exceptional wine list, a wide variety of options, and no lack of culinary delights. Since most meals have five courses or more, it takes about two hours or more for dinner. We were on the second seating, so we usually had more time to enjoy our meal. Sometimes there was a small waiting period between courses, but well worth the wait.
When it was time to disembark, we defiantly did not want to leave. The meeting place for disembarking was at the theater where we were led of the ship, (again without have to find the right place to exit the ship).
We will defiantly LOVE to cruise with Divina again, and will when they have the right cruise at the right time, which is our basic requirement for our cruise choice.