MSC Divina, Makes her Debut – A Review

The MSC Divina

A definite “break” from the MSC mold

Certainly it can be said of MSC’s newest addition to their fleet. Click Here to see a short video of the ship. The MSC Divina is a definite departure from the MSC norm. But you won’t realize this until you step inside this marvelous vessel, which is the latest in their fantasia class of ships. At 3000+ passengers this ship is for MSC a large-scale of ship. While the outside boasts spaciousness and comfort, the inside underscores opulence, glitter, and decadence.

In a Few Words: I would have to say that her atmosphere is somewhere between a mixture of Modern Classico meets Western Americana. Yes, those of you from the Arizona Desert (like me) are going to recognize some very interesting displays and familiar things on this ship. The bars, lounges, and restaurants boast names that are almost as unique to be found on a cruise ship, as is their décor. Be sure to Check out the Main Atrium/Lobby area (at left) especially the stair treds which are embedded with genuine “Swarovksi” crystals that cost $30k per step to build! I have to say that this new vessel is definitely an improvement on what I thought was already near perfection for MSC Cruise Lines. I for one, applaud their accomplishment. One of things I always say is that we need to put a new spin on how cruise lines do things, and MSC is stepping into a wonderful new era with this new ship, along with some new ideas, and decors, and I am excited that we here in America will be getting her in Miami beginning in 2013!

Some Really Cool Stuff: I should tell you that being a member of the Fantasia Class of ship offers MSC’s distinctive Yacht Club Suite Service and offerings, including White Gloved Butler Service, as well as their own private lounge called the Top Sail Lounge, and a private dining room called the LeMuse, and even outdoor pool and relaxation area available only to Yacht Club Suite Guests. Guests Accommodations are ample. Divina offers more than a dozen different categories of staterooms including Inside, Oceanview, Balcony, and Suites (which are a part of the aforementioned exclusive Yacht Club). So, there is definitely a room category that will suit both you and your cruise budget. There are some wonderfully unique aspects of the ship for everyone on this ship which includes bowling lanes, and an opportunity for the young (at heart) to experience a funtastic Formula One Racer simulator thrill ride as well. And certainly, a hit with the kids is the ultimate in movie viewing that can be found in the fantastic 4D HD Theatre (pictured left). Oh Yeah! You definitely won’t want to miss the water and light show on the top deck Aqua Park in the evenings either. It’s like a mini Bellagio show. My how those Italian’s just think of everything!

The Outdoor Areas feature a bounty of activity or the ability to just sit or lay back and do nothing, and even though the ship can hold many passengers, there is ample room for one to be able to find a quiet spot and meditate or read a good book if that should be your thing. Especially in the glassed-railed area of the Infinity Pool (right insert) which overlooks the rear of the ship, where you can enjoy both the pool and the views. So you shouldn’t think that just because the ship is able to carry thousands of passengers, that it is crowded! Speaking of unspoiled romantic areas be sure to check out the La Serene covered pool area while on this vessel. And if you are the type of person that is more inclined to delve into the active part of activities, you should know that there is a complete outdoor sports area just for you. Why they’ve even made accommodations for those who would care to remember the former days on board cruiseships and wish to engage in some shuffleboard play while cruising.

Dining Options: There are a variety of dining options to choose from whether you wish to just be carefree in the casual venues, located topside in the Calumet and Manitou restaurants, or maybe you might rather take in the wonderful five course dinner selections in the formal dining room which is called The Black Crab (at right), which is FREE. I have never before dined in such exquisite surroundings and it be an included part of my cruise price. There are also other eatery options which have a slight twist from the typical specialty dining routines generally found aboard cruise ships. Here’s the deal; Rather than paying a flat $25-$35(or more) service charge per person, you have the ability to select from an a-la-carte(per item) charge menu. This alone, can save you a good deal of money, depending on just how hungry you are and what you order. There is even a specialty burger spot for those who wish to take in a finely cooked burger with all the dressings. For me this is definitely a welcome change. Way to Go MSC!

So Much To Do: Here’s just a sneak peek at a few of the lounges on board from Martini Bars, to Piano or Jazz Bars, to Sports Bars, it’s all here on the Divina. (The Silver Lounge is pictured on the left here). Whatever your particular pleasure in music choice, there’s a spot that will be just the right fit for your individual tastes. I must say that in my thirty-some cruise experiences that I give extremely high marks to MSC, particularly in the on-board Entertainment department. The shows I have witnessed on MSC have definitely been on par (though smaller scale) with Broadway productions. It’s actually quite amazing just how good they perform and on a stage that’s moving. Think about it, that’s no easy task. Broadway Stages don’t move up and down and from side to side either. I have also seen entertainment acts on MSC ships that were just as enjoyable as Cirque-du-soleil when I was last in Vegas. Even better since I paid nothing more to see them!! So in my opinion, I would have to definitely rate MSC’s on-board adult entertainment as some of the best I’ve had the pleasure to experience while cruising. This also applies to the MSC Kids clubs as well. They offer age appropriate supervised activities, and they even allow kids to stay on board while in port (in case Mom and Dad) take an excursion and the kids will even be escorted to a special place in the formal dining room for a special child’s menu for them to be able to choose from. Or if you prefer to take them along MSC offers special discounted rates on excursions for the kiddies!! For the teens they have their own disco, karaoke, and computer area as well as gaming area, video arcade, and even Italian Language Lessons they can participate in , so parents don’t be alarmed if your teen comes home speaking conversational italian. That’s World Class MSC!

After the show you can take in a coffee or specialty brew at one of the Cafes or Coffee Bars, or you guys could even take a visit to the cigar bar, or maybe stop by the Internet spot (Cyber net Café) to catch up on any needed communication with the outside world that you have missed out on. (Cafe Italia at Right is open 24hrs) There is always an opportunity to just take a late night stole outside around the deck, or perhaps even visit the Under the Stars Lounge topside for a night-cap. The Divina also features many on-board experiences that you may have already heard about, or enjoyed aboard other cruise ships. Things like the Casino, Gym/Health Club, and also a nicely done Children’s Club Facilities and Services. So as you might be able to tell, Divina has most everything you may already wish to make use of during your cruise. So No worries there!!

Special Event Planned: We are planning a Sail Along with Mike Cruise, to be taking place for the New Years 2013-14 time frame, that will offer great group rates and a special amenity package as well. See More information below.

The MSC Differences: It’s important to point out that often times you see bad reviews from cruisers about how they do not care for MSC and wouldn’t sail them again. I have booked many happy customers on MSC Ships and each of them has had good experiences, with several repeat customers. Dont let a disgruntled reviewer spoil your chance at a wonderful cruise experience. I attribute this to the fact that many folks (especially those who buy on the internet) purchased on MSC because of the lower prices MSC offers over their North American competition. One of the best differences is that Kids under 12 who cruise in-room with their parents SAIL FREE! (Just pay the government taxes). These folks who may have cruised before go on board expecting a replay of what they have been accustomed to in the past and allow some minor or slightly varied difference to overcome their experience and influences their review. First MSC is an Italian Family owned Cruise Line. It’s not on the US Stock exchange and not under any influence from demanding shareholders. The first complaint I read about is that the staff was standoffish. If you’d look deeper into their complaints, moreover than not,  you will see that this was due to their experience with the dining room service wait staff. All of MSC’s Service staff is European trained, which means when performing large table wait service it is customary to serve and to clear everyone at the table at the same time. Likewise, they will not begin with the next course until everyone at the table is done with the previous particular course. Also, don’t get offended when you get your desert and it comes complete with a spoon (and not a fork). That’s just an Italian thing. Also one of the things about the formal dining room that I really like is that each night the chef will typically choose a different region of Italy from which to base the meal planning around. And just by chance if your standard of Italian Cuisine happens to be your monthly visit to Olive Garden, (or someplace closely akin) then it will taste differently then what you are accustomed to. Your dining experience in the formal dining room will resemble a meal at a restaurant in some region of Italy, just as you would experience while in Italy, now how cool is that?

Another common dis-contentment I read about is, all the safety related announcements and even those prior to entertainment events (which are mainly for the safety of the performers) and are basically performed in five different languages. We have to understand that on MSC, that  English-speaking passengers represent only a small fraction of the international makeup of the total overall cruise passengers on-board. Each announcement will be done in Italian, English, Spanish, German, and French. And pardon me, but anyone who says they are put off by such announcements especially in light of the Concordia disaster, should be ashamed of themselves for the few minutes that such announcements commanded which is totally outweighed by the need for not only their overall safety, but for that of everyone else on board the ship as well. I am happy to report that another frequent gripe I used to read about has been changed. MSC’s smoking policy is now very much identical to all the North American Market cruise lines which is absolutely terrific considering this is a European owned cruise line. So I really have to say Good Job MSC! And now, you are forewarned to the subtle differences.  It’s always best to know something about what you buy. Knowledge leads to no surprises, and no disappointments. It really boils down to something just that simple. So take it from someone who knows cruise ships….A Cruise on MSC is not bad, just different in some aspects…that’s all! If you are a person who likes Value for their Cruise Dollar, and would enjoy having a great time cruising on some of the cleanest ships anywhere I’ve seen, then MSC is a right choice for your vacation. In short the MSC Divina cruise ship is a cruise experience that offers so many choices, that  you’ll need at least seven days just to sample all that Divina has to offer. So Bon Voyage cruisers!!! – CruisewithMike

CruisewithMike: Thanks for visiting our weblog for updated information on this amazing new cruise ship. If you would like to obtain more information on Cruising on the MSC Divina or would like to reserve your space on one of these magnificent adventures, or our CruisewithMike Sail Along Cruise New Years 2013-14 Sailing, you can  contact Mike at email cruisewithmike@cruiseholidays.com  or check out more details to come about this cruise opportunity at http://www.cruisewithmike.info . You can follow mike on twitter at http://www.twitter.com/cruisewithmike  . Join our Travel Club at http://meetup.com/Sun-Cities-Travelers-Group/  Mikes web site can be found at  www.mberryhill.cruiseholidays.com .

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About cruisewithmike

Mike is a Professional Cruise Wedding Planner, Wedding Officiant,and owner of CruisewithMike Wedding Planners. With over 20 years of experience in the Travel Industry, as an Independant Travel Consultant, Customer Service Agent, and a retired Va. Magistrate, and Clergy. Mike has a very unique perspective on Customer and Wedding Service Needs and strives to provide custom service that's "TOPS" Totally Outrageous Professional Service, with every customer he works with.
This entry was posted in Cruise Ship Reviews, Current News and Events, MSC Cruises and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

17 Responses to MSC Divina, Makes her Debut – A Review

  1. Almira says:

    Awesome blog! I enjoyed reading your articles. This is truly a great read for me. I have bookmarked it and I am looking forward to reading new articles. Cheers.

  2. Roberta says:

    Mike…you feel like the teenagers among us will have plenty to do and enjoy? Roberta

    • Dear Roberta,
      Absolutely with the Generation Teen Club and the MSC Divina there are many teen things to keep them occupied with stuff they like to do. There are also many outdoor activities, as well as their own lounge the Teen Club Disco evenings, Video Arcade, Cybre Cafe, 4D Cinema, Formula One Race Simulator, Mini Golf, Aqua Park, Table Tennis, Bowling…. actually they may have a problem doing them all in just 7 Days!! Thanks for the question – CruisewithMike

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  4. Cleonice says:

    thank you very much for sharing all this great information with us! it’s definitely appreciated. well worth the time in reading!

  5. nikos says:

    Mike this is an interesting article! I am a first time cruiser with Divina (13/11/2012) and I wonder if you can delight me about what of the following is free onboard: Buffet, coffee, beverages, water, ice cream (yes I am a food lover!!). And ofcourse any other helping tip from you is very wellcomed! Thank you very much!

    • Nikos, glad to hear you liked the article.
      This is an area where your agent that booked your cruise should have alreaady gone over with you “prior” to your purchase. If you merely booked the cruise on your own on-line directly with MSC, then I would refer you back to the website where you made your original booking. I see by your email address that you are not US, so your cruise amennities may differ from those which I am able to offer my U.S. customers. Sorry, hope that helps you find the answer to your question(s).-CruisewithMike

  6. Jane says:

    Great article I am going on the divina on 11th feb I have travelled on the msc musica previously and have been on cruises with RC and ncl. Your article is spot on many people make judgements about msc without even taking a holiday on one of their ships. It’s a cosmopolitan affair with English speakers in the minority and I love the food experience. You get great destinations a beautiful ship and value for money. I recommend msc to friends and family in the uk and some have made bookings already for this summer.

  7. Kimi says:

    Are the broadway shows in english?

  8. Jane says:

    Hi just wanted to share further information on the Divina following our holiday. We had a fantastic time the ship is stunning and all in all it lived up to our expectations on every level. All I would say is that as experienced on the msc musica the shows are not on par with the American ships such as RC and ncl. The are not on every night and only 2 nights were modern style singing one was a frank Sinatra tribute the other was a Michael Jackson tribute. The mj show was brilliant and there was not a spare seat in the theatre. Other nights were opera style singing. The bands and singers in the bars are all okay. If going to a show every night is a big part of your cruise then you might want to stick to American ships we have found RC and ncl to be amazing in this respect . That said I would still travel with msc again as its value for money and great value go with the algressimo allinclusive package for drinks well worth it for the cocktails!

  9. Amy says:

    I travelled on the MSC Divina with my daughter in February 2013. I would like to warn people NOT to book a guaranteed cabin. I booked a “guaranteed cabin” because there wasn’t much left in my category. It was only a few dollars cheaper that a selected cabin. Ten days before we left, I found out we would have to change cabins right in the middle of our 11 night cruise. I had booked by phone directly with MSC so I called my MSC cruise consultant to see if he could put us in the cabin that had opened up for the entire cruise (in the same category). He said MSC (in Naples) would have to approved it but they would not. There were also other cabins available in different categories for the entire cruise but we had to pack up everything and leave our bags in the hallway one morning before our shore excursion. On our cruise, people got on and off at the different ports so this is their way of keeping their cabins booked. I asked if this practice was common and they said yes it is “standard procedure” and couldn’t understand why we minded moving everything 5 days into our cruise. So if you are going to recommend MSC cruise line, PLEASE advise people NOT to book a guaranteed cabin unless they don’t mind changing cabins in the middle of their cruise.
    My only other suggestion is to take a look under your sheet of your bed when you get to your cabin. I found only a bare mattress, no protector or mattress pad. A little gross when you think of how many people sleep on the same bed.
    I have to agree that the public areas are clean and beautiful.

    • Amy,
      Sorry you didn’t have a knowledgeable cruise consultant helping you. Next time maybe you should think about doing this. They can sometimes get you even better pricing, and they could have advised you not to do the guarantee cabin when on MSC going anywhere but the Caribbean. MSC is now about the only cruise line that allows booking embarkations in almost every Mediterranean port. This is done for the benefit of their European passengers, and not those Americana coming to their ships. You never pay a penny for the professional help. Remember Next time. Call me first!
      -CruisewithMIke

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