The Divina was distinctly European in its culture. We saw more Europeans than on any previous cruise we have been on. The “no video or picture” announcement prior to the shows was given in at least four languages, none of them english. ... Read More
The Divina was distinctly European in its culture. We saw more Europeans than on any previous cruise we have been on. The “no video or picture” announcement prior to the shows was given in at least four languages, none of them english. Some of my criticism may be due to the cultural differences. I believe that there is no such thing as a bad cruise. That said, some are better than others.
As mentioned on previous posts, we got on board within an hour of arriving at pier G in Miami at noon. Note, our docs said pier F, ship was at E. No big deal as it’s hard to lose a cruise ship!
The ship is as beautifully decorated as most cruise ships, including Swarovski crystal staircases in the main atrium. The bars and lounges were contemporarily decorated for the most part.
Our standard balcony room was nice, and maintained perfectly by our attendant, Chonna. Wish we could have brought her home with us! One issue with the room, the shower area, at 2.5’x2.5’, was the smallest I can remember on any ship.
The pool areas seemed smaller than usual, but that may have been due to the crowds. The only days seating was available after 9:00am were port days when most people were ashore. Lots of deck chair saving going on at sea. Thankfully, our balcony chairs were comfortable, and the wind and sun usually kind to us.
As mentioned in other reviews, the staff in the dining room seemed unorganized on the first day, even apologizing for the slow service. The rest of our cruise they got it together and performed well. The food in the main dining room, the Black Crab, was average for mid-priced cruise lines.
Some specifics: The prime rib, which most old cruisers know to get the night you see it on the menu, was good. The desserts ranged from wonderful to okay. We like to eat breakfast and lunch in the dining room when possible, so I had to try their shrimp and grits, a dish I look for everywhere. Their description was great, shrimp sautéed in savory bacon drippings, over cheese grits. What I got was one thumbnail chunk of shrimp, on top of a teaspoon of cheese, on top of runny plain grits. Later in the cruise, I ordered it again, asking for extra shrimp and extra cheese. I got four chunks of shrimp, and a whole tablespoon of cheese, on the same grits. Best shrimp and grits ever? The lo-country shrimp and grits at Ruby Tuesday. Yeah, that RT.
Another favorite dish of mine is corn beef hash. Only saw it on the buffet and tried it twice. It was gruel. Best ever was at O’Sheehan’s pub on NCL.
I figured that with the European culture the Muesli would be great. I make better at home.
Beer and wine were included as part of our package. Note, this is only during meal times in the buffet and dining rooms, ie. it did not include the specialty pizzeria. No choice of beer or wine, only Heineken beer and three varietals of wine.
The specialty pizza was good, so I call it a tie with Princess’ Alfredo’s pizzeria. The pizza on the buffet was fine.
Okay, I’ve vented enough about the food, the shows helped make up for it. While the music was canned, the voices were not. They were great. I enjoy opera, and they gave us a good dose, maybe too much for some. The sets were amazing, but the best part was the dancers. I’ve never seen a troop of five girls and five guys work that hard, and they did it every night for ten days!
There were parties in the clubs every night, though we’re not partiers. We were on board for Mardi Gras and Valentines days, but there was no mention of them that we saw. If you do party, take a white outfit for that night.
We were also aboard at the start of the Olympics, and would have enjoyed seeing some on TV after a tiring day, but it was not available. Soccer was available, though. Yes, I know it’s important in Europe, but so are the Olympics.
We enjoyed shore excursions in Aruba and Cartagena. I was surprised that ships had started visiting Cartagena, but it was a beautiful city, even though a civil war ended seventeen months earlier? Best souvenir? A bag of Columbian coffee. Smoothest coffee I’ve ever tasted.
Due to the size of the ship, it had to dock at the cargo port in Freeport instead of downtown. To get downtown required $5 per person, each way. Fortunately, the locals had a fair sized shopping market at the dock.
I enjoy meeting people, usually in the dining room, on cruises. It’s fun and you never know who you’ll meet. Fortunately, more Europeans speak english as a second language than Americans speak their languages. With one exception, all were polite. When I asked a nice Swiss man why they all liked MSC, he said language was one big reason.
One day in the Le Serene pool area, which is misnamed, I saw a guy about my age at the hot tub with a Vietnam vet hat. I’m a Vietnam vet too, so I asked him about his experience. As it turns out he was in the battle of Ia Drang. That was the battle that provided the story for the movie “We were Soldiers”, with Mel Gibson. He said the movie pretty much nailed it. It’s not often one gets to talk with living history.
Disembarking back in Miami was fine. We had time for breakfast in the dining room, but service was slow. If you’re in a hurry to leave, do the early walk off by 7:30am. Final note, US citizens had a separate line in the terminal at customs, which was much shorter. Read Less