MSC Divina B2B Cruise Review
May 28 - June 11, 2016
Just the Facts:
Ship: MSC Divina
Captain: Francesco Veniero
Cruise Director:Darren McColl
Ports: Miami, USA - Ocho Rios, Jamaica - Georgetown, Grand Cayman - Cozumel, Mexico - Nassau, Bahamas - Phillipsburg, Saint Maarten - San Juan, Puerto Rico
I’m cruising on two 7-day cruises (B2B) on the MSC Divina, these are my 4th and 5th MSC cruises and 112th & 113th cruises overall. This is my first time on the MSC Divina and my first time to sail with a MSC ‘Black Card’ the highest of their Loyalty Club levels. I am cruising with my dear wife (DW) and some good cruise friends who wanted to try a different type of cruise line and the new MSC Loyalty Club matching program. It will be very different experience for them than on Carnival Cruise Line their usual cruise line.
Saturday May 28 / Miami / Embarkation / Day 1
|Welcome on Board at the Buffet Dessert Station|
Sunday May 29 / Day at Sea / Day 2
|MSC Divina Atrium area|
Monday May 30 / Ocho Rios, Jamaica / Day 3
|MSC Divina from Margaritaville Beach - Ocho Rios|
Tuesday May 31 / Georgetown, Grand Cayman / Day 4
|Deck 14 Pool Deck on MSC Divina|
Wednesday June 1 / Cozumel, Mexico / Day 5
|Woody's in Cozumel|
Thursday June 2 / Day at Sea / Day 6
Friday June 3 / Nassau Bahamas / Day 7
|Sailing into Nassau harbor|
Saturday June 4 / Miami / Day 8
|Miami from MSC Divina|
Sunday June 5 / Nassau Bahamas / Day 9
|Beautiful MSC Divina Lobby area|
Monday June 6 / Day at Sea / Day 10
|Swarovski Crystal Step|
Tuesday June 7 / Phillipsburg, St. Maarten / Day 11
|Witches of Paris|
Wednesday June 8 / San Juan, Puerto Rico / Day 12
Thursday June 9 / Day at Sea / Day 13
|Piazza de Doge - gelato|
Friday June 10 / Day at Sea / Day 14
|MSC Divina Atrium area|
Saturday June 11 / Miami / Debarkation
We arrived very early in Miami. Time to leave the MSC Divina. We changed from priority debark to a later time so we would not be rushed and we are staying in Miami overnight. We went down to deck seven just before the designated time of 9:30 and were ‘dinged’ right out as the exit was at the elevators. We then went down to baggage claim and yes our color was out. Just a few minutes until all the bags were collected and we were on our way to US Customs. The passport cards got us through right away and we were out of the terminal. Just a short wait at the taxi stand and we got a van to downtown Miami and the Langford Hotel. We have requested early arrival and woo-hoo they had our rooms for us and it was just after 10:00 am. The hotel is a new boutique hotel built in a 1920’s Beau-Arts architectural bank building. Very beautiful inside and the rooms are very nice. The bathroom is especially well decorated in black miniature subway tile, a nice large shower, comfy bed, and herringbone wood floor. Very pleased with the accommodation.
Maiden Voyage: 2012 I Gross Tonnage: 139,400 tons
Passenger Capacity: 3959 | Crew: 1325 I Length: 333 meters
Max Cruising Speed: 27 knots I Avg Speed 23 knots
Installed power: Diesel (40,000kW) I Propulsion: Twin propellers
Godmother: Sophia Loren
We had cabin 9226 a starboard side balcony located on deck 9 and it does have an oversized balcony due to its location at transition of inner and outer balcony sections. We are located between the aft and mid elevators. It is a well decorated and somewhat spacious cabin. It has a push button safe, twin/king beds, large padded headboard, two night stands with lights, two large decorative mirrors, a small refrigerator, small table, large upholstered chair, seat at dresser/desk, and TV with interactive features. There is a wardrobe with a set of drawers and large hanging area with two doors. I used an open suitcase as a set of drawers under the bed to get enough storage…we did have more clothes than normal since we are out for three weeks.
Crew / Guests
Our MDR waiters were very efficient as was our cabin steward, but overall the crew may not be quite as friendly as some cruise lines, there were some exceptions, but it’s a very different environment from most cruise lines...not a bad thing at all...just different. Tipping is NOT encouraged, but that doesn’t work with our group so most cocktail servers knew our group members by name and provided exceptionally good service. The first week was primarily Brazilians, then perhaps 30-35% Americans and the rest European. Week two was primarily Americans, probably 50-60% then German and other Europeans.
Dining / Food / Bars / Entertainment
Entertainment is the strong suit of MSC with very elaborate production shows and live music in most all venues. In addition to the production shows they have a ‘fun’ event scheduled every night night at 10:30 pm in the Black & White Lounge (large venue/lounge located far aft). The MDR dinners are average to good, DW thinks the vegetarian options on MSC, both MDR & buffet, are much better than any cruise she has sailed. The Calumet and Manatou Buffets were quite adequate, always very busy as they have no real alternate choices (as a Deli or Guy’s Burgers on Carnival). The pizza, taco station, and salad bar were very good. The MSC Divina has some very beautiful lounges and bars with live entertainment, we tried to visit most. We did buy several drink voucher packages before sailing that dropped the per drink cost lower.
Eataly—is one of the premium restaurants located on most MSC ships. It is a branded venue based on the popular Eataly chain in Italy. We have seen Eataly’s in most Italian cities we have visited including Milan, Rome, Genoa, Verona, Venice, and more. We had never eaten there in Italy nor on any of our previous MSC cruises…just didn’t seem right for us and that feeling was justified. It is an Italian restaurant serving Italian food, but NOT the traditional Italian food that I or most would associate with Italian. I guess their image is of a trendy upscale restaurant not a trattoria or traditional family style restaurant. My personal opinion on Eataly: I did not care for it. I did not like the chairs, I did not like the tables (no tablecloths), I thought the menu was weak, I thought there was too much time between courses, and menu selections not balanced (i.e.-no vegetables, too much anti-pasta, not enough pasta, choice of sauces, etc.) at least on the Black Card set menu. The steak served was very good & cooked to order and the ham was excellent, but overall not impressed. I wish MSC had a traditional style Italian food venue or even had more Italian food options in the MDR as they used to have years ago. My dislike of Eataly will not change my great opinion of MSC overall…it is just a venue that will be avoided by me in the future as I have in the past.
Black Card — MSC has a Loyalty match program that honors your status on other cruise lines so that made us ‘Black Cards’ the highest level. We received two dinners in the specialty restaurants (did it would not do it again), Chocolate ships, a private Cocktail Party, Champagne & Chocolate strawberries, and more. The gifts were: Sunglasses, Champagne Glasses, & Baseball style hats…it was nice they changed the gifts from one week to next for B2B guests. Good program. I did miss free laundry.
Comments - MSC Cruise Line
MSC is very different than the usual American cruise lines and if your looking for the same experience it will be much different. You may like the differences or you may be very unhappy with the differences. As an experienced cruiser I love different. If you don’t like change or are not flexible you will probably NOT like sailing a European cruise line. Following is my personal observations on sailing MSC. MSC Pluses: Beautiful Public Rooms, Top quality MSC Production Shows & Entertainment, Quality and Beautiful Themed Bars, Large Cabins, Hot Milk readily available on buffet and MDR, Attentive bar servers, Good MDR Breakfasts, Great Laundry, Smoothest sailing ever. MSC Negatives: Too many guests, Children Sail Free (too many uncontrolled children), Buffet areas much too busy and too few tables at peak times.
Highlights of the Cruise
Snoozemates and cruise friends sailing with us
MSC Production Shows
Black Card Party & Gifts
Would I sail MSC again? You bet I would, it's a great experience!!
~~~Click on Photos to Enlarge~~~
Disclaimer: Your cruise experience may be very different than mine. I have been cruising for many years so I'm older and a bit jaded with cruise experience. I no longer attend all events or ship activities. A new cruiser will attend many more activities and production shows...as well they should...they are usually very entertaining. There are many evening events that one can experience with good entertainers and comedians...enjoy them. One tip: Don't try to do everything offered...hit the highlights and enjoy your cruise.