|MSC Divina in Port
by Linda Coffman
— Christened by Italy's legendary Sophia Loren in
2012, MSC Divina is a Fantasia-class ship and at 139,072 tons and with 14
passenger decks, she carries
3,502 passenger based on double occupancy, or 4,363 at full capacity. With their "children sail
free" policy for kids age 11 and under and a fare of only $99
for kids age 11 to 17, there are often many multi-generational families
onboard and the capacity
exceeds the double occupancy figure. However, the layout is so well
designed that MSC Divina
never felt crowded during our cruise. Our first
impression is that MSC Divina is an Italian
beauty with an abundance of gleaming marble and brass. In a way, you
could say the décor is a bit retro, but my husband Mel’s description—“upscale
warmth”—sums up the overall feeling. MSC Cruises
describes it as the “Med Way of Life” and we couldn't agree more.
Positioned in the fall of 2013 to sail year-round from the Port
of Miami, you can typically expect to find about 70% of passengers
on board from North America and 30% from the rest of the world. On
our sailing the international passenger mix was a bit higher at
and it added to the enjoyment of the cruise as we met many travelers
from Norway, Germany, the British Isles, Japan, and of course Italy.
182 sq ft inside and a spacious balcony, MSC Divina’s Balcony
(pictured here at left) was our very comfortable home on board. Cheerful artwork and
neutral fabric tones set off
dark warm wood paneling and creamy wall coverings. Triple closet doors concealed
more than adequate hanging and storage space with
a bank of drawers, shelves, and personal safe behind one door. A dressing table/desk contained
two more drawers, one with a built-in hairdryer, and
housed the mini-bar refrigerator below. In addition, a
flat-screen interactive television was mounted in the corner and a
shelf above was available for our belongings.
Nightstands on either side of the bed each had two small drawers for
Although the bathroom wasn’t large, it felt bigger than most
standard cruise ship baths due to the
layout of the corner shower with a rounded side and glass doors
instead of a shower curtain. Cabinets beneath the vanity augmented
wall mounted shelves for toiletries. For Mel, its most important
component was good water pressure and consistent temperature—no
blast of cold water when other passengers turned the water on in
While there are more than a dozen accommodations categories to choose from on MSC Divina,
they are laid out in four basic configurations:
Suites, Balcony Staterooms, Oceanview, and
Interior Staterooms. There are also 45 wheelchair accessible
accommodations in a variety of categories.
As in her Fantasia-class sister ships, MSC Divina was designed on
the ship-in-a-ship concept, wherein the Yacht Club suites are top
drawer on the top of the ship. From the moment they arrive at the
pier until the end of their cruise, guests occupying the 69 suites
in MSC Divina’s Yacht Club receive unparalleled service and
amenities. Met pierside with their luggage upon arrival at the
Port in Miami, they are whisked on board to begin their cruise by
checking in at their own concierge desk on Deck 15, bypassing the
busy check-in lines in the terminal. That’s only the beginning of
the exclusive pampering they experience. Accessible only by key
card, the Yacht Club is a private enclave of posh accommodations and
|Yacht Club Suite 16023
Once in the Yacht Club occupants find 234-283 square foot suites with
61 square foot balconies that have generous storage, walk-in
closets, luxurious linens, and marble bathrooms with tubs. The
plushest are the Royal and Sophia Loren Suites at 390 square feet
with 170 square foot balconies—Ms. Loren designed the suite named
for her with her own signature touches and black and white photos
from her legendary career adorn the walls. Three Executive & Family
Suites that measure 462-547 square feet are forward-facing with
panoramic windows, but no balconies.
There’s no reason for Yacht Club guests to stand in line at the
ship’s Reception Dedk in the Atrium on Deck 5 as all their needs are taken care of
in the Yacht Club. Private butlers are available around the clock to
handle most requests and the concierge can take care of specialty dining reeservations and arrange their
spa appointments and shore excursions. Butlers each serve eight
suites and their assistants handle the daily cleaning. Yacht Club guests are escorted to the head of the lines to
leave the ship
when it's time to go ashore.
|The One Swimming Pool
In addition to the private reception area with/concierge desk and
small library, amenities include The One swimming pool with sun
deck, two hot tubs, lounge chairs, umbrella tables, showers, a fully
stocked bar, and a grill. The forward-facing Top Sail lounge with
floor-to-ceiling windows offers expansive sea views, a
continental breakfast, lunch snacks, and a full service bar that
serves as an evening cocktail lounge with a pianist. There is even a
small area in the open deck near the pool dedicated to smokers. Like
the rest of the ship, Yacht Club accommodations and balconies are
non-smoking. All beverages in the Yacht Club venues, including
cocktails, beer, wine, soft drinks, and mini-bar contents are
complimentary. Aft, with a view over MSC Divina’s wake is Le Muse,
the Yacht Club’s dedicated open seating restaurant where breakfast,
lunch, afternoon tea, and dinner are served.
Like those on her Fantasia-class sister ships, MSC Divina’s Yacht
Club is all-inclusive and very exclusive. At the end of the cruise,
the service doesn’t stop—in a final personalized touch, Yacht Club
guests are escorted ashore by their butlers who handle their tote
bags and other hand luggage. Naturally, Yacht Club guests have
access to all the other facilities and entertainments on MSC Divina,
but their luxurious ship-within-a-ship cruise is simply a cut above.
Food is a very personal subject and
one that’s hotly debated by cruise passengers. This was good…
That wasn’t... It's all a matter of taste.
I like Italian food, especially
authentic Italian food.
Unfortunately, many Americans haven’t had the opportunity to visit
Italy and their exposure to “Italian” cuisine has been limited to
Pizza Hut and Olive Garden where pasta is drowned in heavy sauces
and garlic is the only identifiable spice—usually on crusty bread.
The Italian food on MSC Divina was much lighter—particularly the
spaghetti and other pasta dishes. Some people love it and some
don’t. I particularly enjoyed the rissoto and, for dessert, tiramasu
that was to die for. On "lobster night" I again passed on the
crustacean in favor of the delightful pasta followed by a steak entree.
Pizza! It’s become a staple on cruises and nowhere at sea will you
find more authentic pizza than aboard MSC Divina and her fleetmates.
Not only is it freshly prepared and complimentary in the Calumet
Buffet restaurant, but pies can be ordered with your favorite
toppings in Pizza Eataly and can even be delivered to your stateroom—each
of those options for a nominal charge.
Dining doesn’t stop with pizza. Of course the Calumet and Manitou
Buffet restaurants are popular choices for breakfast, lunch, and
even laid back dinners after a day in port. With open seating for
breakfast and lunch and set seatings for dinners, the Black Crab and
Villa Rossa are MSC Divina’s main restaurants with wide varieties of
menu options, including the wonderful pasta. While large, each
restaurant is elegantly designed in such a manner that dining seems
intimate. The food and service are exceedingly good.
Specialty restaurants on board MSC Divina are unique dining
selections for a special occasion or just as a treat. Eataly
Restaurant is where Mel and I enjoyed Caesar salad, a tenderloin steak, and a specially prepared pasta dish. The steak was
perfectly cooked—juicy, tender, and flavorful, it was one of the
best we’ve ever been served on a cruise. Eataly specializes in
healthy, high-quality foods and the menu with à la carte pricing
offers sixteen selections, from cold meats and fish to Piedmontese
beef from “La Granda.” Adjacent to the main Eataly Restaurant is
Ristorante Italia, a more cozy dining section with a set menu and
set pricing that includes sparkling wine with dinner.
|Eataly Restaurant, So Divine
To take a taste of Italy home with you, the Eataly
Shop is stocked with such ingredients such as Gragnano Pasta, RIO
extra-virgin olive oil, and Slow Food meat sauces. To brush up on
your Italian cooking, there are also cookbooks to create authentic
The Galaxy Restaurant is the second specialty dining venue with an à
la carte menu of Mediterranean fusion cuisine and a trio of three,
five, or seven course Gourmet Dinners paired with wine selections to
complement each course.
On a casual note, sports enthusiasts don’t have to leave the big
screens in the Sports Bar to grab a bite. While cheering on
their favorite team they can order American-style chicken wings, onion
rings, chicken nuggets and other finger food for a nominal charge.
Complimentary snacks are also abundant on board MSC Divina. In addition to the buffet
restaurants, self-serve ice cream cones are available every
afternoon beside the Aqua Park pool and croissants are found every
morning at the Divina Bar and Café Italia.
At the heart of MSC Divina is one of the most popular spots for a
specialty coffee, pastry, or gelato—Piazza del Doge, where the
atmosphere evokes the
“Med Way of Life”—quiet and relaxing during the day and lively with
music and dancing every evening.
Naturally there is room service around the clock for continental
breakfast and sandwiches, salads, soups, fruit, cheeses, and
desserts complimentary throughout the day and into the late evening. A $3.50 delivery charge applies for
orders from 11:00pm to 6:00am.
Entertainment, Activities, and Itineraries
Cruise Diva's "Live" Blogs
from MSC Divina:
At Home Aboard MSC Divina
MSC Divina at Sea
“Top 18” Aboard MSC Divina
MSC Divina: Delicious Dining
MSC Divina: Divine Entertainment
MSC Divina Visits Ports of Call
MSC Divina’s Yacht Club
MSC Divina Visits Great Stirrup Cay