Our Flightie Jason recently spent a few days aboard the newest cruise ship to call South Florida home: The MSC Divina. At merely a year old, this cruise ship has just begun her year round residency in the Caribbean with Miami as her adopted home port. He shares his experience with us today on the blog:
The first thing you notice when boarding this 3,502 passenger ship is the strong Italian sense of style, flair and of course, flavour. This is a ship that invites you to enjoy and savour, with 18 bars and lounges, all serving the finest Italian coffee as well as a wide selection of alcoholic temptations to suit both a North American and European palate. Dining options naturally showcase Italian and Mediterranean cuisine, with well presented and mouth–watering options available from the main dining rooms (where it was a little too easy to overindulge) to the buffet (with real authentic pizza) to the various specialty restaurants available for an additional fee.
Indeed MSC has tied up with some great Italian culinary brands like Segafredo coffee (try some with fresh made gelato!) and Eataly (now famous in Manhattan as an it destination to shop and dine). The shopping too is not your typical offering and continuing the food theme, you can even buy cook books and fine Italian ingredients to try your hand at replicating some of the delicacies once you return home.
Most of the social life on board is centred around decks 5-7 and then up top on levels 14-16. In fact with so many options to entertain and or indulge, the common areas are always bustling. All around you there are photos of iconic Italian scenes and celebrities inviting you to enjoy La Dolce Vita.
Of course there is always the MSC Yacht Club to stay in should you want to be able to relax in your own private and secluded area with butler service, an exclusive bar, lounge, restaurant and pool.
However, most of the accommodation is on decks 8-13, with about one third of those with balconies. We were in 9088 (forward, starboard side) which benefitted from a larger balcony than normal as it was set in to the corner of the ship where the recess above the walkway below (on deck 7) ended and the cabins came out to meet the side of the vessel. I would certainly recommend that stateroom, which was well appointed and comfortably sized inside with the added bonus of a spacious exterior to retreat from the distractions on the decks above and below.
Due to the timing of the sailing I was on there weren’t many children on board, but with MSC offering Kids Sail Free (under 11, and reduced prices for 12 and up) that balcony would be a real oasis. There’s no doubt that families will find a lot to like about this ship and the activities and options for children on board are plentiful.
I would recommend first time or experienced cruisers, families and couples or groups to sail on the Divina. And certainly, for anyone that likes southern Mediterranean food, this is an easy choice (tip – eat in the main dining room, Black Crab for lunch if you have the time as the buffet is the one restaurant I would not rush back to). As an Italian cruise line entering the Caribbean full time for the first time (there have been seasonal visits by other MSC ships) there are some service adjustments taking place to cater to North American tastes and expectations and the first few weeks of her stay will see some more tweaks and improvements, but I would still say the offering on first arrival in to Miami was a positive one and the Divina will win a lot of fans.
For more information on cruising with MSC, contact one of our Cruising Specialists at 1-866-940-0207 or browse our Cruise Specials online.