by Colleen McDaniel, Managing Editor
MSC Divina, part of MSC Cruises' Fantasia Class, is a gorgeous ship. With marble and mirrors everywhere, Divina could easily have slipped into gaudy territory. But it doesn't. Instead, it's bold yet tasteful, flashy yet elegant. The decor, including Swarovski crystal-covered glass staircases, glass elevators and dramatic lighting, is right to the top without going over. No one would ever call Divina "understated," but you could explore for days and find little touches -- a statue here, an inlaid floor there -- that bring a smile to your face. Highlights include the breathtaking atrium, glitzy Pantheon Theatre and sophisticated Black & White Lounge.
Another big hit is the Yacht Club, MSC's ship-within-a-ship area where passengers are treated to larger cabins, butler and concierge services, and a private restaurant, lounge and pool area. Spaces within the yacht club are both elegant and relaxed. Butler service there is excellent; somehow, butlers seem to anticipate your every need without being overbearing. Cabins are larger, and perks -- including complimentary beverages and access to an uber-private pool area -- are vast.
The gym and spa are enormous, with first-rate equipment and services -- not to mention a well-stocked sporting goods store in case you forgot something vital for your trip. With five pools, the ship has ample space for taking a dip and plenty of loungers for sunning. Divina also has the closest thing to a true infinity pool that we've seen at sea. It's the best spot on the ship for unimpeded ocean views.
Divina comes up short, though, when it comes to dining. While its upcharge restaurants are excellent, food in the main dining rooms and buffet areas is disappointing. Sometimes overcooked, sometimes underseasoned, dishes were mostly average with few standouts. Variety is limited, except in the large buffet area, which offers a wide range of hot and cold food options.
In November 2013, Divina began sailing full-time Caribbean itineraries from its new Miami homeport. To prepare the ship and its crew for the change, MSC made a number of modifications to appeal to the tastes of its North American market: enhanced entertainment, a movie screen poolside, a sports bar featuring American pub grub standards, a more restrictive smoking policy and significant training for crewmembers used to a completely different clientele. While the ship and crew maintain a Mediterranean feel, the new touches are certainly noticeable.
MSC Divina Fellow Passengers
Passengers onboard MSC Divina are generally North American. All announcements are made in English, which is the primary language spoken onboard. (This differs from MSC's other ships, which usually offer all announcements in five languages to cater to a variety of European passengers.) If a large foreign language-speaking group is onboard, the crew might add announcements in that language, though English always will be first. When school is out, families are common, especially as MSC lets kids younger than 11 sail free when sharing a cabin with two paying adults. Divina draws from a wide age range.
MSC Divina Dress Code
Generally, the dress onboard is casual, though theme nights -- such as White Night, where all passengers dress in white, and '70s night -- are common. During the day, shorts and tees are the norm. At night, jeans, T-shirts, shorts and bare feet are prohibited in public areas, including the main dining room. Women typically wear sundresses or slacks or capris with blouses at night; men wear khakis or slacks and button-down or collared shirts. On formal nights, cocktail dresses are the norm for women, while men strut their stuff in suits or jackets and ties. On three- to six-night cruises, Divina will host one formal night. For sailings of seven to 10 nights, passengers will have two formal nights, three for sailings of 11 to 14 nights and four on sailings of 15 nights or longer.
MSC Divina Gratuity
The onboard currency is the U.S. dollar. A $12 per adult, per day, gratuity is automatically added to shipboard accounts; it's $6 per person, per day, for those ages 3 to 17. Gratuity is not applied for children younger than 3. If passengers believe they have not received satisfactory service, they may contact the guest relations manager to have the charges removed. A 15 percent service charge is automatically added to all beverage, spa and salon purchases. Room service does not include an automatic gratuity, but MSC doesn't recommend tipping staff members individually.
I gotta tell you, I have sailed many cruises but this is the first time I felt compel to give a review. We sail from Miami and everything was smooth sailing. The ship is stunning to say the least. I did however read the reviews before I decided ...continue
What a beautiful ship - probably the prettiest I have seen. It was tough to rate this ship due to the pros and cons. Being a fairly new ship, everything is in very good condition. Other than some carpet stains, the ship was pristine so the ...continue
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Just returned from a 7 night trip with MSC and was compelled to write a review. What a great time we had!
The check in at Miami was very good, prompt and efficient, our only negative comment on this was that other cruise lines we have ...continue