I chose this cruise for the itinerary, because several ports had an overnight giving 2 days in those ports. I saw Divina launched in Marseille in 2011 and sailed on her as a solo traveller the following year, and loved it, so was looking forward to sailing on her again.
I have a friend I travel with now but we choose to have our own cabins. Paying a single supplement is huge so we always book interior cabins. I booked this cruise roughly 18 months prior to departure and choose cabins on deck 9 close together. On getting our final payment papers I discovered we had been allocated different cabins 4 decks apart, not the cabins I had chosen. I contacted MSC Sydney and they said MSC had the right to change cabins even though I was under the assumption we had in fact paid more for cabins midships on a specific deck. Eventually we were allocated cabins on the same deck but deck 13 forward - not an ideal position as far as I was concerned. My friend and I were very disappointed and in fact I didn't want to take the cruise. We are both Black Card members with MSC but that did not change the situation. Our early preference dinner seating had also been changed to late seating.
Once on board in Miami we went directly to the Black Crab restaurant to ensure we could get first seating for dinner as we both require to eat early for health reasons. We were told there were no seats left and that early seating was reserved for American guests - that did not impress us. Thankfully we recognised a head waiter we had met on an MSC cruise from South Africa last year (and he remembered us) and he organised seating for us at the early sitting.
Having two days in port was fabulous as it gave you the option to stay ashore in the evening. New York was our first port and we used the Hop on Hop Off bus that included a boat tour to the Statue of Liberty. Great value for money to get around NYC.
Bermuda was the second port but unfortunately there was a medical emergency and we had to turn back towards the US for a helicopter transfer, which took about half a day. During that time a storm developed near Bermuda and stopped Divina from getting into Kings Wharf. We had 5 fairly rough cool days at sea before arriving in Ponta Delgado in the Azores. I'd been there before and just loved it the first time. The weather was also fabulous - they'd had several days of bad weather so we were lucky. Teneriffe in the Canary Islands was substituted for Bermuda but just for one day.
Lisbon, Portugal our next port was great. We had an overnight and left early the next morning. Remaining ports for a days visit were Malaga and Valencia in Spain, Marseilles ending in Genoa. We were joining MSC Sinfonia the following day for a Mediterranean cruise so an overnight in Genoa - a really surprising city.
We mainly used the Hop on Hop off bus or just walked around the port. Most port authorities have their own shuttle buses too and fro the entrance, often free so there is no need to book the MSC shuttle which was often quite expensive.
The food was good and the buffet has an excellent choice of food, although I feel the restaurant menu is not as good as it was when I first started cruising with them. The entertainment was very good, however on the sea days there was not a to to do as the pool deck areas were not usable, due to rough seas and low temperatures. A lot of passengers spent their days in the covered pool but to me it was like a sauna and very noisy.
If you decide to book this repo, make sure you take adequate warm clothing - a lot of passengers hadn't researched temperatures, and MSC sold a lot of jackets. Thankfully I had done the research and had a down filled puffer jacket and body warmer. New York hovered on freezing on both days and several other ports were not at all warm and the wind was quite cold, so my jacket and body warmer got a lot of use.
The Social media package is a good option to keep in touch with family and friends and much cheaper than buying a full internet plan. This wasn't advertised on the website but I had used it on previous years with What's App being my prime app. It's also much faster than Messenger and more secure.
A great size cabin with a nice bathroom, with an extra chair and coffee table. Fantastica has a better choice of bathroom with a glass shower door than the cheaper Bella option, which has a smaller shower and shower curtain. There was more movement at the front of the ship on the higher deck but movement was more noticeable in the stern. The cabin was very quiet which was an added bonus. The bed was also very good with the option to choose pillows which I did. I have difficulty sleeping if I am rocking the wrong way in rough seas, so I sleep across the queen bed in that situation. It might seem stupid but it works!
We boarded in Miami and had two days there prior to departure so no shore excursions from the ship
A fantastic ay to see the city at your own speed and going where you want to go.
A fabulous tour of the island visiting the thermal area. I had been there previously so went to the east of the island this time.
Great to get out of the city to see the countryside and the wonderful Quinta de Regaleira. This tour is well worth doing
Valencia is a beautiful city that I have been to before. I used the shuttle to reach the city then explored alone.
Aix-en-Provence on your own is a good way to see the town. I had been there previously on a guided tour and enjoyed the freedom going where I wanted to go and not with a large group of people.
It was pouring with rain so I stayed onboard
Very upsetting as we were unable to go to Kings Wharf due to bad weather.