MSC Divina: The Ship!

As we’ve mentioned in past posts, this was our fourth sailing on the Divina. Our first trip, back over Christmas of 2015, was our only other non-Yacht Club sailing, so while we did miss some of those amenities, it was nice to get back on in normal rooms and get a feel for the parts of the ship we may not have frequented in the Yacht Club sailings.

Let’s start with the rooms! We’d originally booked two insides for this sailing back in April, but upon logging in a couple months before departure, noticed we’d been upgraded to two balcony rooms. Awesome! The specific rooms assigned were cabin 10275, an aft balcony, and 9054, a port side forward cove balcony. We’d made the decision to put Jen and her mom in 10275 and Bayley and I in 9054, and I admit I was a bit jealous initially, as I fell in love with the views an aft balcony provides back when we sailed the Celebrity Summit to Bermuda. That jealousy subsided a bit after we got on the ship and checked out the rooms. It’s not that I didn’t like the room or balcony itself, it’s that an aft balcony tends to get little to no airflow, even at sea, and as a result, it’s really humid this time of year on that balcony. I did end up spending more time on mine than theirs as a result. Don’t get me wrong, we very much appreciate the upgrades, and 10275 is a beautiful room with an amazing balcony that’s nice and deep, and including chairs and loungers is a really nice touch. Additionally, both rooms had plenty of storage, and ours came with plenty of hangars! Jen usually brings extras, as most rooms tend to be a little light on them, but Bayley and I had no need for extras in 9054.

Enough talk, let’s take a virtual tour of both rooms with these 360 degree photos! Hit play on each one, and drag your way around to check out each room and balcony!

10275


9054


Moving on, the ship itself is still just as beautiful as the first time we sailed her. The layout and decor are a large part of what make the Divina one of our favorite ships. Frankly, after sailing a couple of other lines between our last Divina sailing and this one, we’ve come to appreciate the Divina’s theater that much more. It’s got some of the best sight-lines of any ship-board theater we’ve sat in, and the seats are pretty comfortable compared to others we’ve used. One thing they’ve added since our last visit is reserved seating for Yacht Club, a nice addition that some of the other lines also do for their suite guests. The location’s a bit questionable though, as they’ve blocked off the entire starboard side section in the upper deck. I’d have expected a lower level section near the front, but I’m sure there were reasons for the location.

One change from our sailing last year, dedicated theater seating for #YachtClub guests up in the balcony. #mscdivina #cruise

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Take a look around the Divina’s theater!

On a related note, we were happy to see there have been changes to some of the shows. We do enjoy their entertainment, and while the overall show lineup was pretty close to what they had on previous sailings, there were some changes to the songs and visuals in The Mask, the pirate show, and the Michael Jackson show. All were still excellent! Additionally, they’ve added one musical show, a tribute to the band Queen. We were pretty excited about this one, but admittedly left this one underwhelmed. Bohemian Rhapsody just didn’t have the punch we expected, and one thing we heard more than one passenger say: “How can you do a Queen show without performing Fat Bottomed Girls?”. Outside of that, however, we still thoroughly enjoyed the shows. Keep in mind that with such a mix of passengers and languages, they work to make their shows appeal in more of a visual manner, with a reduced focus on spoken story telling, and in our opinion, they do a pretty solid job of it!

Bayley and I each also took a couple of turns in the F1 simulator, one of my personal favorite things about the ship considering I’m a big open wheel fan. In addition to the F1 simulator, they also have a 4D theater and mini bowling (in the sports bar on deck 7) for those wanting to do something a little different. Note that, as of the time this was written, the pricing for a single turn at each is:

  • F1 simulator: $9.90/pp
  • 4D theater: $8/pp for adults, $6/pp for kids 13 and under
  • Mini bowling: $8

Or you can buy a per-cabin pass for $85 that allows everyone in the cabin to use those three things as much as you want! Frankly, that doesn’t seem like a bad deal to me if you’ve got a cabin full of kids, or simply want to make use of these things yourself.

Free time brings more time in the #F1 simulator 😊🏎 #mscdivina #cruise #becauseracecar #racecarspelledbackwardsisracecar

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What's a #cruise on the #mscdivina without a stint in the #F1 simulator? 😊🏎

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One of the other things about the Divina that we love is still intact, the smoke-free casino. Of all of the ships we’ve sailed that have casinos, this is the only one that’s not covered in the smell of smoke, which is really nice for non-smokers. Here’s a 360 degree view of the casino, as seen from the awesome staircase in the center!

I think that about covers what I wanted to talk about this time around. I’ve gone over the ship a lot after our past Divina sailings, so I don’t want to repeat too much of that again, but if you want to check out those past posts, I’ve got them organized here:

Additionally, feel free to take a look around some of the other areas of the ship I took 360 shots in! She really is a beautiful ship!

The lobby, in all of its sparkly splendor 🙂

Piazza del Doge

The amazing view from the upper decks (shot in Nassau)

MSC Divina: The Food!

We’re now on the last day of our current sailing on the Divina, and with some free time while we’re docked in Nassau, I figured it was time for an update! The past four days since my last post have been a whirlwind of fun, and being totally exhausted from it, I hope this post makes sense. This is the first time in four sailings on the Divina that we’ve done this itinerary, and even though we had fun on the previous three, it was, in some ways, a nice change of pace, but three back to back ports where we spent a lot of time in the sun has me a bit, well, off ;). I’ll save the port-specific stuff for a later post and focus this post on the food and dining service on board the ship this week.

When we sailed over Christmas in 2015 (our only other non-Yacht Club sailing), we were assigned to the Black Crab restaurant, and if you saw my recap post, it wasn’t the best experience. It felt too crowded, service was really slow, and the food was hit or miss. This time around, we’ve enjoyed the MDR experience so much more. We’re in Villa Rosa this time, and were assigned late dining. At first we considered requesting a change to early seating, but after our first meal decided we against that, as we really like our table staff, Erwin and Noel. They’ve done an awesome job all week, so I’m glad we chose to stick with the later seating even though we prefer to eat earlier. The food itself does seem better than last time, but still has hit or miss moments. Take last night for example (as seen below), the 90-day aged carpaccio was excellent, but the beef wellington was just okay, as it was a little tough for my liking. I’d say most of the nights have been like that, but I’d say that’s par for the course with the main dining room on any contemporary line. Feeding 4000 people isn’t an easy task, and frankly most of it’s been pretty good all things considered! I think the only real complaint would be from Jen. On the 2015 sailing, the tiramisu parade was followed by the waiters cutting slices from the ones they paraded around, and she absolutely loved that specific tiramisu. This time, you don’t get served from the paraded ones, you just get pre-sliced ones that she says aren’t nearly as good as the ones on that Christmas sailing, so Italian night was a letdown for her.

As mentioned in my first post, we also decided to try some of the specialty restaurants onboard this time. With the current dining plan pricing, it just seemed like too good of a deal to pass up. We chose the 3 meal plan at $50/pp, which gave us a night in Eataly Steakhouse, Galaxy Restaurant, and La Cantina di Bacco. The first two do require reservations, but having never seen either of them busy, we didn’t bother to get any reservations ahead of time. The plan was to check out the MDR menu each day and decide based on whether or not we wanted anything on that menu. The first night we ate in one ended up being the first formal night, and for that we went to the steakhouse. Beef? Yes please! On the dining plan, you get something off the appetizer or pasta menu, one entrée, and one dessert. As shown below, I went with beef carpaccio, filet mignon, and the bomboloni (donuts with ice cream). It was all very good!

Next on our specialty dining tour was Galaxy Restaurant. We did this after our stop in Cozumel, again because there was nothing on the MDR menu that really called out to us. We didn’t call for a reservation until after we got back on the ship, but were able to easily get a table at 7pm. Arriving at the restaurant, we were seated at a spot by the window with an amazing view, and given our Samsung tablet containing the menus (ordering from a Galaxy tablet in Galaxy restaurant, clever 😊). Now at this point the one annoyance of the evening hit, as it took almost 40 minutes for our server to take our order, which seemed odd considering there was only one other group in the place, but other than being slow, the experience in Galaxy was great.

On the dining plan, you get one thing from the appetizer menu, one from the pasta menu, an entrée, and a dessert, so one more course than we got in the steakhouse. I admit that going in I was a bit concerned about this one, as my daughter and I are picky eaters, and I having seen the menus ahead of time, I didn’t think there was anything on the appetizer menu we’d eat. I decided to put that aside and try something new, so for my starter, I went with the duck breast morsels. I’d never had duck before, and frankly I’m not a big fan of bird meat in general, so I wasn’t sure what to expect. Well, it was absolutely delicious! The teriyaki sauce on it was excellent as well. For my pasta selection, I decided on the homemade tagliatelle, and the pork in it was cooked to an almost bacon-like consistency. If this dish was the only food I had in here, I’d have left stuffed and happy! For my entrée, the tournedos of Angus beef, which was cooked to a perfect medium rare, and on par with the filet I’d had at the steakhouse a few nights earlier. My final course was the moelleux au chocolat, basically molten chocolate cake in vanilla sauce. Amazing, absolutely amazing. The warm chocolate gushed out of the cake as soon as I cut the firstbite, and when combined with the vanilla sauce the taste was just perfect.

The entire meal was excellent and well worth the money in my opinion. I really don’t understand why the steakhouse and Galaxy restaurant aren’t busier, they’re both great!

For the final meal on the 3 night dining package, we had lunch at La Cantina di Bacco. We decided to go the lunch route specifically so we didn’t miss out on another evening in the MDR. In lieu of individual pizzas off the menu here, we chose to go with the meter of pizza. We’d done this once before and loved it, with it being my favorite of the three different pizza styles you can get on the ship. Keep in mind that this isn’t traditional pizza, and as such, more traditional American toppings like bacon or pepperoni aren’t available. For the meter of pizza, you can divide it up into 4 different sections, with different flavors on each. We ended up with prosciutto on two sections, one margherita section, and a four-cheese section. Each and every one was delicious!

The dining packages at current pricing definitely seem to be worth the money if you’re looking to try something outside of the normal main dining room. We all agree the food was excellent, and provided a nice smaller venue free from the noise of the MDR. The only exception was Galaxy, where people kept cutting through to get to the virtual world area, but even then, that was only a small distraction. Why more people aren’t giving the specialty restaurants a shot is beyond me.

Moving on, the buffet. This is one of the places where I immediately started missing Yacht Club. I’m a breakfast eater, and love grabbing some eggs, bacon, bread, etc, and finding a quiet spot with a view to enjoy the morning. Well, unless you get up early, that’s not a thing in this buffet. One of the key things I mentioned in the posts after our first sailing in 2015 was the layout. The way the room is set up, you can easily end up trapped behind slow moving people when moving between stations, or when looking for seating. It can be extremely frustrating trying to navigate the room during busy times, so if a crowded buffet isn’t your thing, go early or late. Exact times for that are hard to pin down, as it changes based on whether or not you’re in port, and I’m sure it changes with different passenger demographics. On the first sea day, I went up around 9am or so, and it was pretty busy. I didn’t even bother waiting for pancakes, as that station was just a sea of people. On port days? Yea, either go an hour before you dock, or some time after. In Ocho Rios I got up there about 15 minutes before we docked only to find all bread stations almost entirely empty. Now today, I waited until about 15 minutes after we docked and it was just fine. Plenty of food, and a small crowd since most of the ship was making their way into town by this point.

As far as quality of the food goes, I’d say it’s pretty standard buffet food. The scrambled eggs have been good, the pancakes, when I did make it there, were delicious, and the bread was pretty good. The one day I had bacon it was a little undercooked for my taste, but still had a good flavor. Then there’s the pizza. Ahh, the pizza. This was my first stop when we got on, and one I made almost every day at some point. I consider their pizza to be the best I’ve had at sea, and the buffet pizza is just as good as the meter of pizza we had at La Cantina di Bacco. If you only eat one thing off the buffet, make it the pizza!

An hour and a half later, I get what i was after 😊 #mscdivina #bestpizzaatsea #cruise

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There's the view I've been looking for 😊 #msccruises #cruise #bestpizzaatsea

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How do you properly kick off #italiannight on the #mscdivina? With the #bestpizzaatsea, of course!

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I think that about covers it for the food this week. The very noticeable improvement in MDR service has been a welcome change from 2015 in our eyes, and we couldn’t be happier with our dining staff. Aside from that, I highly recommend trying the specialty restaurants when sailing the Divina, as they offer some delicious food in a smaller, quieter setting. If we have the opportunity to sail the Divina again, I’m planning to give the Italian venue a shot, as it was the only one we missed this time.

That’s all for now. Tomorrow morning we disembark and drive home, and while I am sad in a way, I’m also ready to rest for a few days. We’ve kept ourselves busy all week both on the ship and in port, and frankly I’m exhausted! Here’s hoping debark and the drive home are both uneventful tomorrow!

Outstanding service all week from Erwin and Noel in Villa Rosa! #mscdivina

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