MSC Divina Dining
Dining on Divina is a bit of a mixed bag; most food is fairly average. Highlights, in general, were the soups, which were flavorful and comforting. (A particular favorite was the delicate tomato basil.) Likewise, desserts were solid, with standouts including the cannoli, gelato (of course) and baked Alaska. In the main dining rooms, though, entrees for lunch and dinner were lackluster in execution, with most proteins coming in dry and overcooked and salads limp, overdressed and flavorless. Even some pasta courses came to the table "mushy." Service, too, is uneven: excellent and friendly in some spots (the gelato shop and the Sports Bar) and indifferent in others (several of the pool bars and main dining room).
Divina has two main dining rooms: The Black Crab (Decks 5 and 6) and Villa Rossa (Deck 6). The Black Crab, the larger of the two, is decorated in black, gold and purple with marble touches throughout. There are few tables for two but plenty of seats with views. Villa Rossa, with its gold, black and red color scheme, has sweeping panoramic views from Divina's aft.
Both restaurants feature the same menus and hours. Breakfast is served from 7 a.m. to 9 a.m., lunch from noon to 2 p.m. and dinner at two set seating times -- 6:30 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. -- though times vary occasionally. Dinner consists of five courses: starter, soup or salad, pasta, entree and dessert. Healthy options are identified on the menu each night, complete with calorie, fat and protein breakdowns, and every menu has vegetarian selections. Those with specific dietary restrictions should notify the line when they book. MSC recommends they follow up with the maitre d' upon check-in.
Manitou and Calumet, located on Deck 14, are Divina's casual buffet options. The two adjoin, essentially forming one mammoth buffet area. Seating is either at tables (mostly for four or larger), high tables or bars. At breakfast, served from 6:30 a.m. to 10 a.m., diners can choose from standard breakfast fare, such as eggs, bacon, pancakes and toast. There's also a huge cheese selection, available all day, and European staples like beans, bangers and muesli. There is no egg station, so diners can't get made-to-order eggs or omelets. Early risers can grab a continental breakfast there from 6 a.m. to 6:30 a.m., and those who show up from 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. can also get a continental breakfast.
For lunch, from noon to 4 p.m., options include burgers, fries, stir-fry and a carving station. The carving station routinely offers the best protein option; for example, chefs carved a whole, fresh turkey during one lunch. And, of course, there's plenty of pasta. The buffet includes a pizzeria, open from noon to 4:30 p.m. and from 5 p.m. to 3 a.m. Pizza options include the standards (margherita or cheese) and some unusual options (frankfurter). Divina offers an afternoon buffet, with limited options that include fruit, cheese and salad, from 4 p.m. to 5:30 p.m., and a make-your-own-sandwich bar is open from 4:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. and again from 11 p.m. to 3 a.m. Dinner, from 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m., includes more pasta, a carving station and some tasty curry options that are quite flavorful; try the lentils.
The best dining experience we had onboard came at Eataly Steakhouse, which serves excellent salads, soups, pastas and steaks. The restaurant is simple and modern, with faux wood tables and clear, acrylic chairs. Service, too, is attentive and knowledgeable. The Caesar salad is excellent; it's light, fresh and perfectly seasoned. Whereas pasta in other spots onboard was overcooked, there it was perfect -- al dente and light, with the perfect balance in the sauce. The restaurant features an exceptionally knowledgeable sommelier, who explains what is recommended and what the characteristics of every wine are. Eataly features a la carte pricing, with pastas starting at $8.50 and entrees ranging from $15 for lamb or salmon to $25 for an 8.5-ounce tenderloin. Veggie sides are $3. Attached to the steakhouse is Ristorante Italia, which serves a different prix fixe menu each night for $34 per person. There, menu options represent the various regions of Italy; they include Tuscan selections like Citrus-infused seafood passatelli or lasagna and Sicilian favorites like spiced braised veal cheeks and stuffed sardines. Both are open only for dinner from 6 p.m. to 11 p.m.
While the Galaxy Nightclub is a hopping disco at night, it serves a daily luxury brunch for $28, which includes breakfast items such as omelets and waffles and options like oysters and foie gras, as well as one glass of Prosecco per person. From 7 p.m. to 11 p.m., dinner is served there, with several different Mediterranean fusion menus. Passengers can choose a la carte options (with appetizers starting at $7.50, pasta and rice starting at $7.50, main courses starting at $12 and desserts for $5) or choose from one of three price fixe options. The Saturno menu offers courses for $24 per person; the Venere menu is five courses for $35; and the Galaxy menu is seven courses and includes a glass of wine with each dish for $59 per person.
La Cantina di Bacco (open 6 p.m. to midnight) is a small but charming spot on Deck 7. There, wine- and beer-lovers can chat over a glass of wine and a tapas plate (olives and bruschetta, for example), included when you purchase drinks. This is also the best place on the ship for pizza. It's delicious, with flakey, thin crust, and the ingredients taste fresh. The spicy pizza, with its hot Ventricina salami, was a favorite, as was the vegetarian. Pizza pricing starts at $8.50 per pie, and one pizza serves two comfortably.
At the Sports Bar on Deck 7, it's clear Divina is aimed at American passengers. (The menu even reads "American Food Experience.") Dining options are strictly of the bar/finger food variety and include Buffalo wings, chicken tenders, burgers and wraps. Prices are a la carte. For $7, the burger is the best onboard -- juicy and melty.
Gelato -- really amazing gelato -- is available at two spots on the ship: Cafe Italia on Deck 7 and poolside on Deck 14. Cafe Italia also features pastries and chocolates. Pricing at both spots is a la carte. Segafredo Coffee Bar is located on Deck 7 and offers a variety of caffeinated options, including espresso and cappuccino, for a fee.
A small room service menu is available all day, but a small service charge applies to orders placed after 11 p.m. Pizza delivery service is also available.
Yacht Club passengers have additional options for dining, including Le Muse, which offers an upscale option to the main dining room. It serves breakfast (7 a.m. to 9:30 a.m.), lunch (noon to 2:30 p.m.) and dinner (6:30 p.m. to 10 p.m.) in a serene, Greek-inspired space at the aft. Select beverages are included. As in the main dining room, meals are served in five courses, which are heavy on seafood and pasta options. The unique French onion soup there was a hit, as were the cherries jubilee and baked Alaska. Healthy and vegetarian options also are available.
For a less formal meal, Yacht Club passengers can grab a continental breakfast (granola, fruit, cheese and pastries) from 7 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. or snacks from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the Top Sail Lounge. High tea is available there from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m.