Here we are again aboard the MSC Divina, this time for spring break! It’s a first for us in a couple of ways; it’s the first time we’ve sailed on a ship we’ve already been on, and it’s also the first time we’ve sailed in a suite. When the deal showed up a couple of months ago, we decided to give it a shot and sail in one of the Yacht Club YC1 suites, even though we did this exact itinerary over Christmas. The big question, how is it so far?
If you’ve been following our posts on Instagram, you’ve seen the pictures, but overall embarkation was a breeze. We arrived at the port and took our luggage over to the small grey Yacht Club tent near the entrance to the terminal:
On arrival, the dedicated porter had us remove our original luggage tags (would have been nice to know we didn’t need to print those) and he replaced them with grey almost airline looking tags that had our cabin number on them. A couple of minutes later, a shore-side butler arrived to escort us to the ship. With none of the normal waiting in line, he walked us through security (yes, you still get scanned and go through metal detectors, you just don’t have to wait), and into a separate Yacht Club check-in area. On arrival in here, he offered us water, champagne or wine while we checked in. We spent no more than 5 or so minutes in here getting our key cards before he escorted us to the gangway. All a very nice touch. We did stop for the obligatory boarding pic, which was optional, and then when we approached the actual boarding gangway he handed us off to one of the on-board butlers who then escorted us up to the Yacht Club concierge.
On the Divina, the concierge is located in the YC area on deck 15 forward, right near the dedicated Top Sail lounge. Arriving here, you check in with the concierge, who explains a few things about what Yacht Club offers, then hands you off to the Maitre D, who sets you up with a time in the Yacht Club’s dedicated restaurant, Le Muse. Somewhere in here, you’ve also been introduced to your actual butler, and for us, he was waiting to introduce himself and escort us to our cabin as soon as we finished.
I’ll take a second to add that it’s an odd experience being led through the terminal and ship by a butler as the passengers look on. You get a lot of curious looks, and in one case as he cut through one line in the terminal, a “seriously?” from some teenager we walked past. It wasn’t something I really felt a pressing need to experience up to now, but I’m certainly going to enjoy it for this week :).
Okay, so after we got settled we decided to grab some lunch. There are a couple of options for Yacht Club guests. You can always eat at the regular buffet, but where’s the fun in that? Figuring we might as well enjoy our ammenities, we decided to check out the Yacht Club’s restaurant, Le Muse. This is at the opposite end of the ship on deck 15, and after finally figuring out where the entrance was, we were seated. It’s a much smaller restaurant than the traditional MDR, and maybe seats 100 people. For lunch they offer the full muti-course meal, and the food quality in here at both lunch and dinner was definitely better than we remember the Divina’s regular MDR being over Christmas. The highlight of lunch for me was the dessert, a Nutella/chocolate pastry dish that was awesome. One of the people seated at the table next to us had the burger, which looked far better than the buffet burger, and he said it was really good.
After lunch, we spent out time relaxing. This is the first time we’ve repeated a ship, and it felt somewhat odd. Normally we’re up and wandering all over the ship locating everything and taking pictures, but knowing how the Divina is laid out, only wandered looking to see if we spotted any of the entertainment staff from the last sailing (more on that later). After a short walk across decks 6 and 7, we headed back up and relaxed in the Top Sail lounge, which is in the Yacht Club area, and offers a 180 degree view out the front of the ship. When you’re in the YC area, you get free drinks (including some spirits, with a few top-shelf offerings costing a littl more), so I had a Coke while Bayley had a Pina Colada, sans alcohol. In Top Sail, there’s also a small buffet that offers some finger food and small desserts in case you’re looking for a snack.
After relaxing in the lounge, we headed back to the room to rest for a bit. Dinner was still a couple of hours away, but the muster drill wasn’t, so we just hung out in the room until that happened. The room itself is a category YC1, but it’s one of the wider ones on 15. It does trade a little depth for the width, but overall we really like it, and that extra width definitely makes it feel more roomy. Another nice feature of Yacht Club is that everything in your mini-bar is included in the cost (all drinks and snack), as is the bottle of champagne they give you on day 1 to welcome you aboard. As you take from your mini-bar, it’s refilled by your butler. I did enjoy a little champagne :). A quick shot of our cabin, 15028:
Dinner wasn’t too far behind the muster drill, but by that time, Jen’s suitcase still hand’t arrived, so she went to dinner wearing what she boarded with, which was no biggie. Dinner was excellent, with a completely different menu from the MDR from what we saw. I had a nice little chorrizo-based appetizer, a vegetarian lasagna, and this awesome little hot and cold chocolate coconut dessert that was very delicious:
After dinner, we went back to the cabin, expecting to find Jen’s suitcase there. No such luck, so she headed back to the concierge to find out what was up. After a bit of a hunt, they found it in the Yacht Club office on our deck. Apparently it’d been tagged by security, but we never found out why. Must have been the cans of sunscreen, as there was nothing electric in it. That issue aside, we relaxed and unpacked, then hung out in Top Sail for a bit drinking a few Bayleys Alexanders before heading to the Black and Blue lounge for Majority Rules with the entertainment staff at 10:45. We were very happy to see that most of them were still here, as we still feel this is the best entertainment staff we’ve ever had on a cruise, and several of them recognized us and stopped to chat! The game itself was a blast, as usual.
All in all a fun embarkation day, with Yacht Club making it feel like an entirely different cruise. Yes, we’re sailing the same itinerary, but this is a totally different experience, and we’re really enjoying it so far. Can’t wait to see what’s on tap for the first sea day!