CRUISE REVIEWS: Our Family's MSC Divina Cruise
Although this was my 5th cruise, this was my first MSC cruise, and I loved it. My mom, my husband, my 6-year-old son, my 2-year-old son, and I sailed together on the MSC Divina, from March 25, 2017 to April 1, 2017, from the Port of Miami to Ocho Rios, Grand Cayman, Cozumel, and Nassau. We had two Bella staterooms on Deck 8, one room across the hall from the other: balcony stateroom 8251 and inside stateroom 8253. We had a wonderful time! The crew and staff were generally very helpful and cheerful. Our stateroom steward, Lynyrd, was excellent in keeping our rooms in order and providing any requested services, such as emptying the refrigerator on Day 1, so that we could have the space in the refrigerator for our sons’ milk and medicines. Lynyrd also provided us with fresh beach towels as we really put those to use during our vacation.
Our waiters at the Black Crab Restaurant were Francis and Kishawn, and they were wonderful. Francis and Kishawn were very attentive to our family of 5, and got to know our favorite menu items really quickly, including those that our 6-year-old son really liked. For our 6-year-old son, who is a picky eater, this was his 4th cruise, and it was the best he has eaten on any cruise thus far. Prior to sailing on the MSC Divina, I read a number of reviews that stated that dinner in the main dining rooms took too long to be served, but we honestly didn’t experience that. Our food and beverages were always brought to us quickly. On the last night of the cruise, we received a phone call from both Francis and Kishawn because they found a bracelet at our table after we left the dining room. We hadn't even realized that my mom's bracelet had fallen off, and we are so thankful for their attention and for them contacting us, so that she could retrieve it.
My 6-year-old son attended the children’s club during the second day of the cruise, which was the first full day and a sea day, and he said he enjoyed it. They called me after he had been there for two hours, saying he was ready for me to pick him up, so I did, and he seemed fine, but just wanted to go somewhere else at that point. When we would see the children’s club staff around the ship, they were pleasant and greeted him. His favorite parts of the ship are the 4D theatre – we bought the family pass for $60 and went each day thereafter to watch the 4D movie clips, which he enjoyed. With that pass, my husband also experienced the F1 Simulator. Our 6-year-old really wanted to ride in the F1 Simulator, which I had shown him on videos prior to our sailing, but at over 4 feet tall, he isn’t yet tall enough. I didn’t actually ask what the height requirement is, but basically, the person’s feet must be able to reach the accelerator while he or she is securely seated in the simulator... the seat does not adjust. We also enjoyed bowling in the Sports Bar, which is also included with the family pass. I liked going to the Sports Bar on Deck 7, by the way, as it was a welcomed change from the busy buffet on Deck 14. We had breakfast at the buffet each morning; we ate lunch at the buffet on Day 1 and Day 2; and we ate lunch at the Sports Bar on Day 6 and Day 7.
I enjoyed my visit to the Aurea Spa on Day 6 of the cruise. My spa manicure by Alexandra was relaxing, and I love the wash, blow dry, and flat iron by Junior, which made my hair look super healthy and shiny again after days of sun, sand, and beach. Alexandra and Junior were both delightful, and it was a pleasure spending time with them.
Giuseppe from MSC Photography delivered service with a smile, and was great interacting with our 2-year-old son while we sorted through the many beautiful pictures we had to choose from. Our portraits on the MSC Divina are gorgeous!
Last, but not least, George in the MSC Logo Shop was consistently pleasant and attentive in our multiple trips to the MSC Logo Shop to purchase souvenir items to remember and to share parts of our wonderful cruise on the MSC Divina. We are especially thankful for the staff named here, and for all the wonderful crew and staff members of the MSC Divina!
A number of things could have been better about our cruise on the MSC Divina, and most of those have to do with getting on and off the ship on port days. We definitely appreciate the 4 ports on this cruise, but we think that there should be more time in each port. Although we've cruised before, we felt rushed in most of the ports on this particular cruise. I also think that embarkation on Day 1 and disembarkation on Day 8 were very smooth, and was actually the BEST we have experienced thus far. On Day 1, we arrived at the Port of Miami a bit after 11am, after giving up our many bags to be sent to our staterooms, we were checking in at about 11:25am, and we were on the ship by about 12 noon. On Day 8, with multiple trips to the bathroom, as can be expected with a family of five, and with a longer wait for one bag in particular to come along on the carousel, we were outside of the terminal in Miami, with all of our bags, before 10:30am, after being given a 10:45am disembarkation time! However, I think that embarkation and disembarkation at the ports of call were far from smooth. I'm not sure if certain gangways are closed at certain times when embarking and disembarking on port days, but with the volume of guests on MSC Divina, and with the limited time in the ports of call, it may be more efficient to have all the gangways open for a better flow at embarkation and disembarkation on port days.
Overall, our first cruise on the MSC Divina was truly a wonderful experience, which I think was beautifully exhibited in the touching speech by Captain Scala after the Michael Jackson Starwalker show. The show itself was an amazing display of talent and unity. The demographic represented on the ship is awesome! As someone with a B.A. in International Studies, and a love for languages and cultures, I loved sailing through the Caribbean, being greeted by fellow cruisers and greeting fellow cruisers, saying, “Bonjour,” “Bonne Soirée,” “Buona Sera,” and “Buenos Dias.” We definitely experienced that more on the MSC Divina than on any of our previous cruises.