Our 3rd Sailing on the Divina Comes to an End

As you may have noticed from all of our pictures, we’ve had another amazing week on the MSC Divina. As we sit in Top Sail Lounge and delay our departure as much as possible, I figured I’d go ahead and get one more post about our trip out before they kick us off the ship🙂.

First and foremost, we all agree that things seemed to get even better this trip than last ones, and if you followed our previous sailings, you know we really enjoyed both of them. We’re truly sold on the product MSC has brought to the US, and have seen additional changes this week that have been made since our last sailing to make the Divina even more appealing to this market. So what are those changes?

Pricing of things on board: They have added some incredible deals since we last sailed:

  • If you’ve got kids with you, and they want to try out the F1 simulator and/or the 4d theater, the Divina currently offers a package where for $60/cabin, you get to visit all the tracks on the F1 circuit, plus unlimited visits to the 4d theater, and unlimited bowling! Considering one trip to the F1 simulator was $10/pp when we were here in March, this is a great deal!
  • Spa treatments in port seemed really cheap compared to other port-day deals we’ve seen. I got a 45min Balinese massage for ~$50, and the girls got 55min facials for around the same price.
  • At Piazza Del Doge, you can pick up gelato and pastries for a very reasonable price (and they’re really good, too). I had a small gelato one day for $2, and for the amount I got, I’d likely have paid at least twice that on some of the other ships we’ve sailed. Some of the amazing pastries they have in there are under $1, too!
  • They now have specialty dining packages that are crazy low. We’ve done them before on other lines, but generally end up paying more for similar experiences. See here for more info on what you get and how much they cost!
  • Internet pricing is far more reasonable to me now (full package info here). They moved from time-based to amount of data you use, and for the lower-tier packages they now throttle speeds like other lines do. One tip here: purchase this in advance! You get bonus time for doing so, and in our case, we got 1800MB for ordering the Streamer package (1500MB). With the Streamer package you can post pictures and video, unlike the lower packages that throttle to picture-only speeds. Additionally, we were offered more data at a very reasonable $16 / 500MB if we needed. The internet speed and reliability was far better than past sailings, too, and light-years ahead of what we saw with Royal’s Voom internet back in May on the Oasis.

I’m probably forgetting something in this list, but these are the big ones that come to mind.

They’re getting better about explaining why some things are the way they are. The truth is, catering to the American cruise market is very different from other regions. MSC has traditionally been a European line, and as they’ve ventured into the US market they’ve taken the time to learn and to implement changes based on customer feedback. One of those is the thorough explanation given about the shows near the start of the cruise. This time around, Andre, the current CD, explained to the audience why they don’t have things like comedians on-board, and that the shows aren’t really meant to tell a story, they’re meant to be visually entertaining, with a lot of action, and we definitely find them to live up to that billing.

They’re constantly adding to the entertainment options around the ship. They have a very engaged and intelligent entertainment staff that seem to always be coming up with new ways to entertain the passengers. We’ve seen a few new things added, including a game show or two, and had a blast at every event we attended. Whether you want to be outside or in, there’s almost always something going on, and this entertainment team will bust their butts to ensure you’re having a good time. They’re far more engaged with passengers than most of the ones we’ve encountered on other lines.

The current Captain, Pier Paolo Scala is a very engaged and warm captain. He’s far more visible than most, and happy to hang out and chat with you should the opportunity arise. Heck, I was lounging in the pool in Yacht Club yesterday when he showed up with his wife and son, and he was more than happy to hang out in the pool chatting with all of us. He genuinely seems to care about how things are going for the passengers.

After our March sailing, I wrote up a post entitled “Is The MSC Divina Right For You?” to try and help people decide if the Divina is a good fit for them, and after sailing her again 6 months later, I feel like it still applies. This ship and everything on it represent a nice change of pace from the typical contemporary cruise lines, and I encourage anyone looking for something other than the standard US cruising experience to give her a try. I keep thinking that it’s time for us to take a break from sailing the Caribbean, but they keep offering some amazing deals, and we keep getting sucked back in because we like the product so much. It’s a good problem to have🙂

Anyway, I think that about covers it. Between my handful of posts this week and the ones from our past two sailings (December / March) I hope you’ve found some useful info on the MSC Divina, and should you want to sail with MSC, please give us a call, we can certainly help! Hope to see you soon on the Divina or even the Seaside after she arrives next year!

MSC Divina: Third Time’s a Charm!

We’re starting day 6 here, and as we enter our final sea day I wanted to talk about how things have been on board this trip. Our March sailing was the first time we’d sailed in a suite on any ship, and I wanted to use this cruise as a comparison to make sure that our happiness last time wasn’t clouded by that step up in service. In short, it wasn’t. We’re enjoying this cruise just as much, and in some cases more!

This time around, we’re taking a much more relaxed approach than before, skipping activities we’d normally do in favor of more quiet time, more relaxing in Top Sail or at The One Pool, and in some cases, more naps🙂. The service in Yacht Club has been amazing all week, and the one issue we had last time with the attitude of the concierge has been resolved with a new face at the desk who is always smiling and willing to help. All of the staff who were here on our last sailing have been great as well. How so many of them recognize us from a sailing that happened 5 months ago is beyond me, but quite a few of them have stopped us to say hello and welcome us back. Between the service, food and the overall ambiance, Yacht Club has definitely proven itself to be worth the money to us.

On the activities, we’ve enjoyed them all so far. We’ve attended and lost at multiple rounds of trivia, and even though Jaime isn’t here on this sailing, Wally has picked right up with challenging questions that don’t feel repeated and phoned in, like they did on the Oasis of the Seas in May. We did have an incident at yesterday’s round of general knowledge trivia with a gentleman who takes this all way too seriously, however. After accusing one team of cheating (which he also did to me earlier in the cruise) and loudly telling our host that one of his answers was wrong, a few of us had had enough and showed proof that the given answer was in fact correct and more or less shut the loud gentleman down. Hopefully he’ll arrive at the remaining rounds of trivia with a more relaxed attitude. There’s no need to take this so seriously, it’s all in good fun. Don’t ruin that fun for the rest of us.

@bayleycron drawing us to victory in pictionary! #mscdivina @kenmuskat #loveMSC #cruise #travel #vacation

A photo posted by The Cron Group (@cruiseotter) on

#Trivia time with Wally! #mscdivina @kenmuskat #cruise #travel #vacation

A photo posted by The Cron Group (@cruiseotter) on

While we’ve been more relaxed during the day, I think we’ve attended more of the late night activities than we have in the past. We’ve pretty much attended every night party they’ve had this trip, and enjoyed every minute of it. The one exception was the White Party, where I headed back before it was over while the girls kept on dancing. I wish I could have made it longer, I just needed sleep. Between the White Party and Cigars Under the Stars with the Captain (he was one of the last people to leave that!), the deck was packed. Our Captain this week has been awesome. Far more visible an engaged than most, with the exception of our captain from the Celebrity Summit. We’ve seen ours in multiple places, including his normal stop in Yacht Club on the second sea day for a meet and greet. During that, we learned that the private island MSC purchased in the Bahamas (for use when they launch the Seaside next year) is the largest of any cruise line, and will have a dock (no tendering!). It all sounded really cool and solidifies our desire to sail the Seaside after she arrives next year.

Selfie with the captain! #mscdivina #mscyachtclub @kenmuskat #cruise #travel #vacation #whoisdrivingtheship

A photo posted by The Cron Group (@cruiseotter) on

@bayleycron on the far left throwing a 30 for team 6. #mscdivina #cruise #travel #vacation #dance

A photo posted by The Cron Group (@cruiseotter) on

I’m sure I’m forgetting pieces of the last few days, and if anything comes to mind I’ll be sure to include it in my next post. The final 3 days of the cruise are pretty much sea days for us, as we only got off for about an hour yesterday in San Juan, and don’t plan to get off for more than that in Nassau tomorrow. At some point, we definitely plan to hit the waterslide and F1 simulator again, as well.

As you can probably gather from this, we really do enjoy being on this ship and like the product MSC currently has in the US. They’ve made some positive changes between our last sailing and this one that I’m going to cover in my last post, too. If you’re interested in sailing the Divina, feel free to give us a call for help with booking, contact info is at the link below. After 3 sailings on her, we can certainly help with all of your planning for it!

http://www.cruiseotter.com