MSC Divina production shows take place in the massive and magnificent Pantheon Theatre, a two-deck neon-and-crystal spectacle. The space itself is a showstopper, with its bright red seats that alternately have high or low backs (strictly an aesthetic choice). Interestingly, drinks are not served -- nor are they allowed -- in the theater.
The production shows are done twice nightly, early for those with late seating and late for those who dine early. Some of the shows inspired wild applause. But we felt the standouts were the shows that highlighted some of the ship's featured singers, trained sopranos and tenors (keep in mind that they will sing with an Italian accent). Of the MSC Divina shows that take place in the Pantheon Theatre, the ones that get the best reviews are ‘Extreme’, ‘Autumn in Paris’, and ‘Roxanne’s Tango’.
Divina has plenty of programming during the day, with trivia sessions, game challenges such as Taboo, Jenga and Pictionary, dance lessons and sports tournaments. The MSC Divina Aqua Park pool has a wide array of activities, such as group fitness classes and hairy chest contests.
Virtual World on Deck 16 features a Formula One racing simulator, as well as a 4D Cinema. We went for a ride in the simulator -- shaped like a life-size race car -- and found it great fun, although we don't recommend doing it on an empty stomach. The cinema takes you on a roller coaster and offers discounted rates for kids.
There are two arcades on the ship. One is near Virtual World on Deck 16, and conveniently has a staircase that connects to the teen’s Graffiti Disco. The other is off the casino on Deck 6.
The ship really comes alive at night, with more evening programming than you see on most cruise ships. Besides the production shows, the entertainment staff always holds some sort of themed event, either in the MSC Divina Black and White Lounge or up near the pool. There's nightly name that tune trivia in the Golden Jazz Lounge, as well as karaoke and other adult games. Add in the movies on deck, a selection of live bands and a rocking disco, and you have a ship that goes long into the wee hours.
The MSC Divina’s Casino Veneziano, located on Deck 6, is smoke-free, a concession to North Americans. The space offers a variety of table games and slot machines, as well as a bar. It's particularly busy in the evening hours, although it's open during the day on sea days.
Keep in mind that Europeans and South Americans generally stay up later than Americans, as do their children. We saw kids on the dance floor well past 10 p.m., even though the ship does a family disco hour some nights after the early seating; many parents had their sleeping kids tucked under their arms as they conversed with friends and family. If you're used to having the pool deck to yourself for romantic nighttime strolls, you won't find that here; Divina's passengers are grouped at tables eating ice cream, playing cards and taking in the ambiance. If you're a night owl, it's all lively and delightful.
MSC Divina bars range from cozy venues with chill live music to larger, busier spots with themed events and dancing until the wee hours. The evening action takes place on Deck 7, where most of the live music and sports bar are, and at the pool bars on Deck 14.
Divina Bar (Deck 5): This atrium bar is a good place to take in the action on gala nights. There's usually live classical music here during the afternoons and evenings.
Silver Lounge (Deck 6): This pretty space across from the MSC Divina shore excursions booking office seems underutilized, although we have to give it props for hosting Cruise Critic roll call meetings, as well as other group gatherings.
The Cigar Lounge (Deck 6): The indoor spot for smokers, the lounge is enclosed, with no smoke drifting out. There's a stocked humidor.
Piazza Del Doge (Deck 6): Shaped like a rounded cafe, the Piazza area is a great place to indulge in gelato or pastries during the day. At night, you can get coffee drinks and listen to live music. It can be busy, as many of the shops set out watches and jewelry throughout the day and evening.
Caffe Italia (Deck 7): The specialty coffee bar features Segafredo Italian drinks, and it's worth a stop here for a serious morning pickup. Also a lounge, the space is perhaps the best spot to enjoy the ambiance of the atrium, while remaining slightly above it all. You'll also find the strongest Wi-Fi here.
Black & White Lounge (Deck 7): This snazzy lounge has panoramic windows that provide natural scenery, but it's the black-and-white marble with accents of silver that make it a knockout. The silver sofas are oversized and comfy, and there's plenty of space for socializing. It's extremely popular in the evening, with organized dances, themed events and live music.
Golden Jazz Bar (Deck 7): This funky lounge does have large golden sofas and mod bubble lights. During the day, games and trivia take place here. The bar also hosts name that tune trivia in the evening, which can get packed; come early for a seat. Before and after, live music is the norm.
La Luna Piano Bar (Deck 7): We found this space a bit of a misnomer. Although it's gorgeous and does indeed have a piano, on our cruise it wasn't used as the typical take-requests-and-sing piano space. Instead, a duo played standards in the evening. During the day, it is also used for trivia. The bar menu focuses on martinis.
Sports Bar (Deck 7): The space has plenty of TVs to watch sports games around the world. On our trip, football -- as in soccer -- was the norm, as well as basketball. You can get American fast food here (see the dining info above) as well as MSC Divina’s bowling alley, which features two lanes with mini-pins and balls (akin to candlepin bowling).
La Cantina di Bacco (Deck 7): The pizza restaurant is also used as a wine bar, where you can do tastings, the wine blending experience or simply chill out. Live music takes place in the evenings.
Poseidon Bar (Deck 14): One of two pool bars on the busy Aqua Park, Poseidon features all kinds of fruity cocktails and mocktails. Since waiter service around the pool deck is very sporadic, the bar can get busy on sea days. (We've been told that the ship is planning to become more proactive with its poolside drink service, which will be a welcome change.)
Tritone Bar (Deck 14): The second bar on the Aqua Deck serves the same Caribbean favorites as the Poseidon, and also has a for-fee gelato bar.
The Garden Bar (Deck 15): The space around the infinity-like Garden Pool has bar and table seating. It's a popular spot and is often quite noisy. Drinks made with Italian liquors (MSC has a partnership with DiSaronno) and cordials are the focus here, although you can order almost anything you want. This space is also known as the DiSaronno Contemporary Terrace.
Galaxy Disco Bar (Deck 16): The ship's disco is large. With a bar and restaurant on one side, and a big dance floor on the other, the space is extremely popular with the international crowd, particularly in the summer when there's a younger clientele onboard. The DJ does a good job of trying to balance the musical tastes of the Europeans, the South Americans and the Americans -- a difficult task that sometimes lends itself to an odd yet extremely danceable mix. Open until the wee hours.
MSC Divina drink packages are wallet-friendly and flexible, allowing passengers to either go all inclusive (Premium Extra package) or choose from a smaller selection of alcoholic drinks (Easy and Easy Plus packages). There is also a Non-Alcoholic package for adults (includes mocktails) and a beverage plan for kids.
The MSC Divina Aqua Park pool area on Deck 14 is an unusual melange of small wading pools for kids surrounding a larger saltwater pool and two hot tubs (the spaces are surrounded by mosaicked gray walls meant to represent canyons and there are several cactus sculptures dotting the area). The space is busy almost all the time on sea days, with aerobics and dance lessons and games like the hairy chest and belly flop contest. At night, the Aqua Park plays host to theme parties and karaoke contests. The area's LED screen is used all day and night, broadcasting concerts and movies. Look for fresh popcorn in the evening.
Le Sirene, also on Deck 14, is Divina's covered pool area; the retractable magrodome is opened on pleasant days, closed on not-so-pleasant days. Le Sirene has a good-size freshwater pool and three hot tubs, but the area can feel a little stuffy in the hot Caribbean. There's a small pool shop in the space that's open on sea days, selling bathing suits, snorkel gear and sunscreen.
Our favorite pool, however, was the aft Garden Pool on Deck 15, which is MSC Divina’s infinity pool. It offers fantastic views and is reserved for adults. The Aqua Cycle class is held here on sea days.
The One Pool Club is for the ship's Yacht Club passengers. It features a small freshwater pool and two hot tubs, as well as a bar and small snack area. High on the ship on Deck 18, the space can get windy, which feels great in the hot Caribbean, but wouldn't be as fun if the weather was chilly.
Ping-Pong tables are located on the upper level of the La Sirene enclosed pool space.
The twisty MSC Divina water slide runs between Decks 16 and 15. The age limit for the water slide is 7, and all passengers between 7 and 17 must have their parents sign a waiver.
A multipurpose sports court, complete with stadium seating, is available for basketball, soccer or tennis on MSC Divina’s Deck 16.
Despite the hubbub of the Aqua Park, you'll still find plenty of loungers, both on Deck 14 and on Deck 15 above. There are also loungers on Deck 16 near the Sports Arena.
The Top 18 Solarium, on Deck 18, is MSC Divina’s adults-only sunning spot that features two hot tubs and a bar. Furniture includes standard loungers and covered rattan sun beds. Use of the area requires a fee that varies depending on which piece of furniture is being used and how long it's needed. The Solarium overlooks Divina's water slide.
The MSC Divina atrium, with its gorgeous crystal-lined staircase, is where you'll find the most answers to any questions you might have. Guest Services has two desks on Deck 5, and there are also kiosks where you can register your credit card (unlike on most cruise ships, you wait until you board the ship to load up your keycard with funds). Art sales and auctions are also held in the atrium, and it's the spot to take photos on gala night.
Also within the atrium on Deck 5, you'll find the Cybercafe with 10 computers and a printer. To use it, you'll need an internet package; MSC Divina now has two. The Browse package gives you 24-hour unlimited data to browse the web and use email, social networks, and chat apps, for one device. You can post photos but not audio or video content. The Browse and Stream package provides full internet access, including video and music streaming platforms. Multiple-device packages offer savings.
Overall, we found MSC Divina’s Wi-Fi wonky in our cabin, particularly during high volume times in the morning and after returning from shore excursions. We also hated the fact that the system automatically timed you out after a certain amount of time. It was a somewhat frustrating experience.
Go up a level to Deck 6 to find Divina's excursion desk. Divina offers hundreds of shore excursions, including customizable excursions for a fee. The future cruise desk is also here, near the Silver Lounge. The Photo Shop is up one floor on Deck 7.
MSC Divina has a number of shops onboard. The logowear store is located on Deck 7, within the atrium. Other stores include a perfume shop, a duty free liquor store, a jewelry store and a resort clothing store (the latter are both in the Piazza del Doge). There's also a pool gear store on Deck 14 in La Sirene and athletic gear is available for purchase in the spa.
The Sky & Stars library and conference room is located on Deck 16, adjacent to the Galaxy Disco. Passengers can borrow from a small selection of books (in a multitude of languages) and games.
There are no self-service laundry facilities on MSC Divina, but laundry service is available for a fee.
At nearly 20,000 square feet, MSC Divina's Aurea Spa on Deck 14 is impressive for its sheer size. It's also a serene space decorated in neutral colors and with natural stone and wood.
The spa menu has an unusually large menu of massages, body treatments, facials and procedures, including some massages we'd never heard of before (candle massage, anyone?) Most of the technicians are Balinese, keeping with the spa's theme. We tried both a Bali influenced body treatment and a wrinkle-defying facial; in one case, we went through a sales pitch while in the other, we didn't. (Both treatments were excellent and relaxing, by the way). A standard 55-minute Bali massage costs $126. There are legions of specials available on port days, including half off. Acupuncture and medi-spa services, such as Botox and fillers are also available.
A beauty salon is available for styling, haircuts, manicures, pedicures, waxing and other treatments. Discounts are often available.
The spa also has a smoothie bar where wellness drinks and smoothies are centered on colors. Orange, for example, is considered "purifying" and smoothies include carrot and orange, for clear skin, or papaya and mango.
The MSC Divina Aurea Spa thermal area is available via a daily or weekly pass. Access includes the use of two aromatherapy saunas and one steam room for each gender (each space is segregated, as use is European style -- meaning your neighbor may not be wearing a bathing suit). If you want to use a robe, bring it from your room; they aren't provided in the lockers. The space also has lovely rattan loungers in front of vast windows, allowing relaxing views.
Immediately adjacent to the spa on Deck 14, the MSC Divina gym is extraordinarily large and well equipped. Even when it's busy, it isn't crowded. It features cardio equipment like treadmills, stationary bikes and elliptical trainers, as well as a selection of free weights and numerous weight machines. All cardio equipment tracks distance in mileage, but free weights are in kilograms, so come armed with a good sense of the metric system. A small room is available for yoga, aerobics, Pilates and Zumba classes (extra charge). Aqua Cycling is also offered onboard in the pools for a fee.
While a "Power Walking Track" is listed on the Deck 15 map, it's not actually a well-defined track. It's usually overtaken by sun loungers, so those who want to get in a power walk or jog should plan to take advantage of the space at nonpeak times (before sunrise or during dinner, for example).
MSC places a big emphasis on family, and you'll see parents of all nationalities taking advantage of the line's "kids under 18 sail free." Brand partnerships that enhance the kids experience include the Smurfs and Legos; there's an entire Lego shop onboard.
MSC Divina has two kids’ clubs, and divides supervised activities into the following age groups: Mini Club Sailors, 3 to 6; Junior Club Pirates, 7 to 11; Y-Team, 12 to 14; and MSC Generation Teen Club, 15 to 17 (although we noticed on our cruise that the tweens and teens were combined for most activities). Programming takes place during port and sea days and parents may leave their children on the ship while they go ashore.
There are no programs for children under 3. But Divina does have a partnership with Chicco, a European baby brand. Families are able to borrow complimentary digital bottle warmers, strollers, bouncers and caddy backpacks during the cruise.
Private babysitting is not available, but Divina does have a for-fee Kids Around the Clock group program between 10 p.m. and 2 a.m. Kids need to be between 3 and 11 years old.
The headquarters for most kids is "Il Puffi" or "The Smurfs," a play area that celebrates those blue cuties and comes complete with mushroom houses and teeter-totters.
Mini Club Sailors must be toilet trained, and parents are required to sign their kids in and out. Programming might include a cooking demonstration, Lego challenges, movies, Wii gaming, arts and crafts, parades through the ship, family disco time and a talent show (relevant hashtag is #smurfship, if you want to check it out online). While most of the club activities are complimentary, some come with a fee if you're staying in the basic cabin category.
Pirates have many of the same activities as the sailors, but they can sign themselves in and out and have access to adult swimming pools, with signed permission.
Divina also offers a gratis Happy Dinners program for families with kids ages 3 to 11. Kids eat their dinners with their parents while Mom and Dad eat their starters. When the kids are finished with their meals, youth staff bring them to the clubs for evening activities.
Most nights, kids can skip the MDR altogether and eat with others their age (and youth staff) for "Fun Time" dinners in a special section of the buffet area.
Y-Team and MSC Generation Teen can hang at Graffiti Disco, a space decorated in graffiti with its own private staircase to the Virtual Arcade. Inside teens will find Wiis, Xboxes, a foosball table and a separate area outside to hang out. Activities include trivia, photo scavenger hunts, Ping-Pong tournaments, ice cream socials, boys vs. girls karaoke and lip sync battles and a talent show. Teens are also encouraged to meet up at the club to go to lunches and dinners together. Games are also held at the Sports Arena.
* May require additional fees