Having sailed aboard Carnival, Royal Caribbean and its swank sister Azamara Club Cruise, we were lured to try an Italian cruise line. We sailed aboard the MSC Divina in 2016, cruising the Caribbean from her home port in Miami Florida.
The first thing we noted boarding Divina is how the Ship is huge but with surprisingly sleek and clean lines. Towering up to 18 decks, 1,083’ in length, The Divina holds 4,300 passengers, plus crew. Entering on Divina’s 5th floor, the gleaming marble stone piazza leads to glittering Swarovski crystal staircases. Red velvet couches and sparkling chandeliers in the Silver and Divina Bar are so Italianate. MSC is owned by Italy’s Aponte family who in 1970 launched the Mediterranean Shipping Company, the 2nd largest container carrier in the world. The famous shipping family dove into passenger cruising in 1988, legend has it the daughter of Aponte’s shipping empire didn’t find transporting boxes glamorous enough and wanted a cruise ship. MSC is now among the fastest growing cruise companies in the world, with a fleet of a dozen ships, more in production.
Divina was christened by Sophia Lauren in 2012, the glamorous actress was the ship’s inspiration. Stone and marble throughout the ship are Italian sourced, along with artwork and drapery which is at times sophisticated and elegant, occasionally gaudy with frescos, mosaics and incongruous sculptures. Throughout the ship are photos of celebs, paying homage to the golden age of movie stars.
Our 11th deck cabin was lovely, with flatscreen TV, couch and king bed with ruby red accents, and a grand balcony – an MSC signature feature. Among the 1,751 cabins, 80% have ocean views, most with balconies. Enough pool chairs surround the four water feature pool areas – especially the central Aqua Park, plus a waterslide. Divina has lots of intriguing small spaces – the Library, Cigar Bar, Black & White Lounge, and Sport Bar.
What we love about MSC Divina:
Galaxy Bar at night – dancing on the 15 Deck overlooking the ship’s Aqua Park
MSC Aurea Spa Bali And Zen inspiration tratments with a lovely Indonesian staff
Aurea Beauty Salon has reasonably priced haircuts, styling and services with polite Serbians
Garden Pool Bar features a gorgeous Infinity Pool on the 14th stern deck and beautiful views
Pantheon Theatre the onboard entertainers don’t quite live up to this spectacular operatic setting.
Piazza Del Doge marble and Swarovski Crystal 5th floor lobby – great place for formal night photos
THE F1 Simulator – The Captain won’t give you the helm, but you can drive a Formula 1 racecar through Monte Carlo- virtually for $9
MSC Kids and Teens Club
MSC Yacht Club – MSC’s private club within the ship offers VIP Suites, Butler Service, a private pool, bar and restaurant for “Yacht Club Members Only” on deck 16 of the ship.
Divina Fitness Center isn’t huge, but the quality Exercise equipment all have TVs, and the entire gym has great views in the bow of the ship.
What we didn’t love about MSC Divina
The Food – we tired of the boring same-every-day buffet, the slow-to-serve bland food in the formal dining room, even the upcharge Eataly and Steakhouse (both with bad décor) served very mediocre, poorly presented, basic sustenance. We renamed MSC “mediocre sea cuisine”, or “mostly sad culinary.” Even the pizza was average, Italian MSC needs a culinary overhaul, maybe from Olive Garden, not joking.
MSC Crew – The Ship staff is not the smiling, gracious cruise team you expect. We found Royal Caribbean and Carnival to be far friendlier and much more hospitable. Few of MSC’s staff are Italian, despite being an Italian ship. Coaxing a smile from most waiters, butlers and staff members requires cash…
Navigating Divina is confusing, since there is no central promenade (nod to Royal Caribbean) it’s tricky to walk from port to starboard, bow to stern on most decks.
MSC Divina Cruise Tips:
Villa Rosa is the prettier of the two formal dining rooms (nicer than the Black Crab) but harder to find.
Go to the Garden Pool Bar on Deck 14 as you depart ports to enjoy the infinity edge views with a drink.
Get a Cabana Bed on the sunny adults-only Top 18 Deck.
Be sure to go ashore at Eastern & Western Caribbean Ports of Call, destinations like Old San Juan, St Marten, Aruba, St Thomas, private islands in the Bahamas, Turks and Caicos…
Spa Treatments and Beauty Salon prices drop on Port days and as the week goes on…
Don’t go on Divina for the cuisine, we actually lost weight during our cruise, inspired to eat less, and dance more under the stars.
MSC Divina moved to Miami, Florida as her home port in 2013, and now cruises the Caribbean, catering to families, couples cruises, charters, and January’s annual “Holy Ship! Music Festival.”
Read more Cruise Vacations Reviews:
Royal Caribbean Cruising
Carnival Cruise Review
Azamara Cruise Review
MSC Cruise Review
Cruise Tips for Families
Review of Cruise Ship Spa and Salon Treatments with prices
Fort Lauderdale as a Cruise Port