We went on the MSC Divina for a four-day cruise. This cruise line is referred to as the “Sleeping Giant” and will be one of the top cruise lines in the world in the future. They listen to guests and travel agents; they want things to be right.
MSC. Mediterranean Shipping Company is the parent company of MSC Cruises. This is a family owned company and is the second largest shipping company in the world. They are very proud of the fact that they are family owned.
We arrived at the Port of Miami on Saturday. Checking in on the ship was easy.
MSC has a status match program for people who have points with other cruise lines or hotels. MSC offers five (5) levels of membership in their Voyagers Club. In order to take advantage of this opportunity you must apply on-line at least seven (7) days prior to your cruise departure date.
When you sail on MSC, as of right now, you must activate your sail and sign card with a credit card once you get on the ship. Your sail and sign card is what you use to access your cabin, make purchases while on board, and it lets you off and on the ship.
While boarding Kurt was told his picture was not good enough for security so he had to wait in line for about 45 minutes to get a new picture. Because his card was changed, I had to give them my card as well. With our new cards, we were off. Only problem here, as we were to later find out, our original cards had been activated with the credit card and that activation was not done on the new cards.
As usual, the cruise lines let you board early so you feel like you are really on vacation. Once on board most head to the buffet or the bar. Rooms are not generally ready until after 2 PM. No exception here. We went up to the buffet; food options and overall cleanliness was good. When they told us we could go to our rooms, we headed off, dropped off our stuff and headed out to take pictures and check out things.
The ship has a more intimate feel than most other cruise lines. The central atrium has beautiful Swarovski crystal staircases. Everyone seemed to want to have their picture taken on them.
Let’s go back to basics about this cruise line. This is a Mediterranean style cruise line. Most of the crew were from Italy. The focus on the ship is different, more intimate. Another fact is there are a lot more optional costs involved and the way they deal with their drink packages. The one good thing is the company is dedicated to bringing their ships in line with what Americans expect when they go on a cruise. Don’t know for sure if this is good or not because the atmosphere is nice. There were quiet places you could find to relax. I would say that by the time their new ship comes out in December a lot of the little things will be fixed. It was a good experience, don’t get me wrong. Just a few things need to be tweaked.
MSC is not know for short cruises. They generally only do 7+ days on a cruise. The ship had been chartered from Tuesday until Saturday giving us and a lot of other people a chance to experience the line at a great price.
We had dinner at three (3) different places on the ship. Two (2) were alternative dining restaurants that come with a charge and then in the main dining room.
Our first night we ate at Eataly Steakhouse. They have a very modern feel. In our opinion, this was not the best restaurant on board. The chairs here are wobbly. The host got me a regular chair so I was fine. The view out the windows were of the life boats and people just seemed to walk thru. It was rather distracting. Food was not up to par with a typical American steakhouse.
Our second night we had dinner at the Galaxy Restaurant. This is another alternative restaurant. It had glass all around, views of the pool and the water. Food here was exceptional and service was great. If you go, try the diver scallops; their steaks and desserts were also great. I had the chocolate lava cake for dessert, yum.
Our final night for dinner we ate at the Black Crab Restaurant, the main dining room. Unlike most cruise lines, there were items on the menu here that also had an extra charge.
Part of the reason we were on this cruise was to attend a meeting with Joe Jiffo, Senior Vice President of Sales for MSC Cruises USA to discuss things we observed and to give him feedback that would enable MSC Cruises to have their ships in the Caribbean more in line with the American market.
This cruise went to Freeport and Nassau, Bahamas. If going to Freeport, either take a tour or stay on the ship. We did not get off the ship in Nassau. We have been there so many times that we took that time to relax and enjoy the amenities on the ship. Plus, things are very expensive in both of these ports.
If you are interested in a drink package, spa package or excursion, purchase it before you go on your cruise. You will save money by doing so.
After MSC’s new ship, Seaside comes out, I will sail on them again. MSC is planning on having ships in the Caribbean year round.
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TRAVEL with EASe services inc.