This was our second time on the Divina and it did not disappoint! We sailed both times as a couple. The first time in a balcony cabin 3 years ago and loved everything about the Divine. When we looked at cruises for this trip, some other ... Read More
This was our second time on the Divina and it did not disappoint! We sailed both times as a couple. The first time in a balcony cabin 3 years ago and loved everything about the Divine. When we looked at cruises for this trip, some other ships had more desirable itineraries, but we loved the Divina so much, we were afraid we'd be disappointed with another cruise line. In the past, we've cruised with Royal Caribbean and Carnival and we far preferred MSC to both of those. We enjoy both land vacations and cruises and have traveled fairly extensively throughout the Caribbean and in Europe.
ARRIVAL in Florida:
We flew in on the Thursday before our cruise and spent two nights at the Residence Inn by Marriot Il Lugano in Fort Lauderdale. I'd highly recommend the hotel - rooms were large, clean, modern, and had a beautiful view of the inter coastal. It was also walking distance of several excellent Italian restaurants and a very short shuttle ride (7 minutes) to Mai Kai Polynesian Restaurant which has a great show, complete with twirling fire batons and a huge drink menu. We took Uber to the Port of Miami Saturday morning and arrived shortly before 11am.
Completely smooth and done within minutes. (It was also a pretty quick painless experience last time, but this was truly seamless) We splurged on YC and it was absolutely fantastic. We checked in our bags at the white YC tent at the front of the ship and immediately had a port side butler bring us into the terminal. We were whisked past the lines and lines of people and brought to a separate room to check in. You knew right away this was going to be a different experience - in a really great way. We were then taken to the next room where champagne, juice, and cookies awaited us. After approximately a half hour, the ship was ready and we were escorted aboard and shown how to use the YC room cards in the elevator in order to access the YC decks.
First look at YACHT CLUB and Cabin:
We were escorted to the Top Sail Lounge (which is big and beautiful and always quiet and peaceful - rarely more than a handful of couples/families at a time) and immediately met by the maitre de of Le Muse, Robert. We gave him our preference of dining time for dinner, chatted and joked, and that was it. Time to see our room! A butler escorted us to our room and showed us the basics. There was a welcoming bottle of Prosecco and fruit basket. Little gifts were left for us in the room throughout the week. The room itself was much like our balcony cabin from our last cruise in size, but had a much appreciated walk in closet and a tub/shower combo. The colors and furnishings were also nicer, including the bathroom. The bed was incredibly comfortable as were the pillows. If they weren't to your liking, you could choose others from the pillow menu. The butler who escorted us told us that our room butler would stop by to introduce himself personally and explain breakfast, lunch, concierge service, room service, etc..As it was almost noon, we decided to go to Le Muse for lunch.
We had been on the Divina before so declined the escort to Le Muse. We took the elevator down to 7, walked the length of the ship through lounges and bars and took in the beauty of this immaculate ship, and took the aft elevators up to 15 and Le Muse. We were always greeted at the entrance of Le Muse by the hostess or Maitre'd at each meal. Breakfast and lunch is open seating, dinner is usually at the same table and same waiter for your entire cruise. Food is my passion so I apologize in advance if I go on and on. We are from central NJ and eat out at some pretty great restaurants in NYC, Philadelphia, and in NJ. I also cook a lot and my family is from Italy. I like good food. I could not find fault in anything we ate at Le Muse save for one dish that I thought was a little bland - the timbale of polenta. It was beautifully presented and tasted fresh, but not entirely to my taste. Everything else was wonderful! Our first lunch offerings included bay scallops & mango cocktail, Caprese salad, and filet mignon. Le Muse makes a great first impression! Everything was delicious and beautifully prepared! My advice to you is to try everything! They will bring you anything you want from the menu and change things if they are able to. I was hesitant to try the herb risotto with a squid bouquet - what's a squid bouquet? I never came across that watching the Food Network, lol. It was just a little bit of calamari on top of a creamy, tasty, delicious risotto. There was a pasta dish with a salmon vodka sauce with fresh arugula mixed in at the end that was a favorite! It was prepared fresh in the dining room by the maitre'd which was a fun touch to meals. Sometimes he prepared pasta, sometimes delicious desserts. One of our favorite entrees was the roasted swordfish and Provola cheese roll for my husband, and Magret of Long Island Duck with caramelized figs and roasted pumpkin for me. I had the Sacher Torte for dessert (a rich Austrian chocolate cake with an apricot filling and sauce) that was the perfect ending to the meal! The warm flour less chocolate cake and the cheesecake - any cheesecake - are also fabulous. On the second formal night, we were encouraged to have the 7 oz lobster tail for an appetizer and again as an entree along with the beef tenderloin to create your own surf and turf. Just try it all! You won't be sorry. The waiters will recommend wine to start your meal and to pair for each course. The Sommelier is also always available making her way around the dining room to greet you, ask your preferences, and make recommendations. She's fabulous!
Staff of Le Muse :
I cannot say enough about the helpful, kind, wonderful people who work so hard to please every person in Le Muse. From our friendly waiter to the knowledgable lovely sommelier, to the friendly Maitre'd, to the quiet unassuming chef, Giovanni - everyone helped to make our meals memorable, enjoyable, and a true dining experience each evening.
CC Meet and Greet:
Definitely sign up for this if you haven't yet. MSC and CC put together a really nice gathering where you can meet people with whom you've chatted and where you can meet the Captain and crew. We were fortunate that ours was so small - about 30 people at the most - so we all had a chance to speak with the crew personally. At the 10:30 am cocktail party, we were offered my favorite - Prosecco, as well as juice along with some tasty treats and cake.
The entertainers are all so talented! The dancers are amazing and always doing dance lessons or encouraging others to participate in the lounges after their shows. The singers and performers are all so entertaining! The first time onboard, we missed most of the shows lingering over dinner. We saw almost all of them this sailing and are both glad that we did! YC note - a butler will always be at the entrance of the theater on deck 7 at the beginning of each show. There is a reserved section on the side balcony for YC members so you never have to worry about getting a seat. The butler does leave a few minutes after shows begin, so sometimes the seats fill in with other passengers if they haven't been taken yet.
It is so nice to go up to the pool area and find a lounge chair - or 5 - at any given time. Even on the busiest of sea days there will always be open loungers. There are two hot tubs and a small pool on deck 18 but it was more than adequate for guests. There was only one time the whole week that anyone else was in the hot tub with my husband and I. Kids enjoyed the pool and occasionally went in the hot tub with their parents, but it's never overrun the way it can be in the bigger pools onboard.
We had breakfast at the One Pool buffet most mornings. There was always a selection of meats and cheeses, yogurt, bread, fruit, potatoes, sausage or bacon, eggs, (you could also ask for an omelette) and my favorite - fresh flaky croissants, pain au chocolat, and other delicious breakfast pastries. All perfect with a cup of cappuccino or two! Servers/Butlers were always quick to help you and offer juice, coffee, or whatever you needed.
We never ate here for lunch, but saw that they usually had buffet offerings from Le Muse along with other cold lunch choices.
There are servers to take your drink orders during the day while youl're lounging, but when it's a quiet day by the pool, you're better off going up to the bar to order your own. Once you order, they'll bring it to you. They don't like you to carry much up in YC. :-)
The bar area is not in sight of most of the loungers and they don't always know when you arrive. Once they know, they will come around to check on you and refill your drinks.
SUGGESTED DRESS Code (as MSC calls it) for lack of a better word:
I know there's a lot of discussion about this. What we found is that it all goes - for the most part. We enjoy getting dressed up and wore formal clothes for the gala nights - my husband wore a tux one night and a white dinner jacket the other, I wore long evening gowns both nights. The other nights I usually wore either cocktail dresses or sundresses that I tried to match to the theme nights (2 gala, 1 white night, 1 Italian night, 1 70's Flower Glory (?) night, and 2 more casual nights). My husband wore a jacket most nights or a button down shirt.
Observations - please know I'm not trying to judge in any way. So many people ask, this is what we saw:
On formal night, we saw one man walk in with shorts, a t-shirt, and flip flops. We were frankly surprised no one said anything. We had heard it was a big no-no to wear flip flops to Le Muse at any time. Shorts are totally common at breakfast and lunch, less common at dinner but people did wear shorts - usually with a polo shirt. The first evening we saw a couple being politely turned away wearing flip flops and t-shirts.
Most men wore slacks and a polo shirt or button down shirt on the more casual nights.
On formal nights there were a few tuxes, a few jackets, a few button down shirts with or without a tie, and there were a couple of shorts with polo shirts.
I will say many staff and some passengers took the time to tell us they appreciated that we did dress up with the themed nights. But we did it for us. We enjoy it and we feel it adds to the atmosphere and ambiance of the whole dining experience of a thoughtfully prepared meal paired with excellent wine and topped with delicious desserts!
All in all - we had an absolutely fabulous YC experience and LOVE MSC. Our family is booked and very excited to cruise next summer on Seaside!
PICTURES AND QUESTIONS:
I took a ton of pictures and will post some from my phone in the comments.
If you have any questions, I'd be happy to try to help. I loved reading everything I could find before our cruise and hope I can add to your excitement if you're cruising with MSC or the Divina! Read Less