MSC Divina

MSC Divina cruise ship

MSC Divina

MSC Cruise line, based in Italy, has one ship in the USA.  The Divina homeports in Miami and sails the sky-blue waters of the Caribbean year-round.  Launched in 2012, the Divina has 1751 cabins and holds up to 4345 guests.  At 333.30 meters (1093.5 feet) long with a beam of 37.92 meters (124.41 feet), height of 66.80 meters (219.16 feet) and total surface area of 450,000 cubic meters, (588,577.77 cubic yards) the Divina is quite a large ship.  It weighs 139,400 tons and travels at a max speed of 22.99 knots.  It has 5 diesel generators, two propellers and stabilizers.  Rooms include 392 inside, 122 ocean view, 1097 balcony, 28 Aurea suites and 69 MSC Yacht Club suites.  It has a deck 13, but no deck 17 because in Italy it is 17 rather than 13 that they view as bad luck.  (The top passenger deck is labeled as deck 18.)

crystal staircases in the atrium on MSC  Divina

Atrium stairs studded with Swarovski crystals

The Divina is elegantly decorated without being overly ornate or tacky.  The Swarovski Crystal staircase in the atrium highlights the elegance of this diva among ships, inspired by Sophia Loren.  There’s quite a collection of statues about the ship (not necessarily to my taste, but a lot of art isn’t.)  Mirrors, lights, sparkles, and silver colored detailing highlight many areas and there’s pictures of movie stars of the 1950’s in or from Italy scattered about the ship.

statues of odd shaped women reading fill one alcove on the MSC Divina

statue on the Divina

Every ship and cruiseline has their differences.  Compared to other ships we’ve sailed on we have noticed a number of differences about the Divina.  While most cruise lines sailing in the USA are based there, MSC is based in Italy and relatively new to the US market.  They are working on making their ship more friendly to the north American market, with improvements in each cruise over the previous one.

MSC is very family friendly.  In addition to having kid-friendly spaces and programs for different ages, children under 18 sail free or at reduced fares.  They also pay only half the daily service charge, so only port taxes are full price for kids.

flower made from paper towels and a straw

One night our waiter made us a paper towel flower

In Europe passengers and crew don’t interact much, where north American passengers prefer a friendly crew.  Saying hello to passengers passing by in the hallways is all new to this European-trained crew, but most are doing a good job and some go above and beyond the call of duty to give passengers a great cruise.

towel duck on the Divina

towel duck

Towel animals are hit and miss on this ship as some people get them and others don’t depending on whether or not their particular stateroom steward knows how to make them.  I missed the bathrobes that normally hang in the room for passenger use, but another passenger said they do have them available on request.  They did bring some right up with a call to housekeeping.  The sample size bathroom products were absent, but instead the bathroom had dispensers with soap, shampoo, and body wash.

Baked Alaska on MSC Divina

One formal night we had awesome Baked Alaska

The dessert selections seem more limited on the regular dinner menu than on some ships, but the buffet always had a varied selection and they came up with some really special things on a couple of the theme or formal nights.   The menus are in quite a few different languages, making life on board easier for people from a variety of countries.  They catered to the varied languages of their passengers in other ways as well.  Some of the onboard presentations were available in different locations done in different languages.  The daily programs left in each passenger’s cabin would be in the language of their choice and give a schedule of the day’s events taking place for people who spoke in that language.  Daily activities included things like dance lessons and jewelry making as well as lectures, trivia and other games.   In addition to the main cruise director they also have an international cruise director for the non-English speaking crowd.

rear view of cruise ship

Divina stern view

The ship seems quite stable as we mainly just felt a bit of sliding side to side in high winds and rough waters rather than pitching and rolling. There were a couple times it rocked a bit, but nothing major.  The walls in our cabin made some creaky noises when underway though.  Sometimes the pool water would slosh around, which made a great time to jump in and enjoy the wave-pool type effects.

Unlike most ships sailing the Caribbean that do the same itinerary over and over, or rotate between two or three itineraries, the Divina often has different destinations and lengths of journeys.  Many passengers take advantage of this with back-to-back cruises.  A variety of groups sometimes lease the ship, adjusting the schedule from the standard 7 days, so on the next cruise the ship adjusts to return to its Saturday start schedule, which creates the variety in cruises offered.

Kid's corner at the Divina buffet

Kid’s Buffet

In the buffet there’s a station just for kids serving kid-friendly hot food, a nice touch I’ve not seen on other ships. We always found a table open at the buffet without any difficulty, often at the stern surrounded in a lovely wall of windows where passengers can sit and watch the wake.  Their drink dispensers offered orange, pineapple, grapefruit and cranberry juice at breakfast and iced tea, lemonade, and flavored waters the rest of the day.

The MSC USA website could use some improvement in both speed and content.  It also needs to be more user-friendly.  We could not find any information on the dress codes until after we came onboard, when it is too late to pack the appropriate clothing, so I’ve included it here.  The book in the cabin states the dining room dress code as follows:

MSC Divina Dining Room Dress Code

Breakfast and lunch – casual wear allowed

 Dinner has 3 categories, and the daily program placed in staterooms each evening for the following day will state which category applies.

 Formal: tux, dinner jacket or lounge suit for men, evening or cocktail dress for women

 Informal: jacket and tie for men, cocktail dress for ladies (no jeans)

 Casual: open neck shirt without jacket or keeping with the theme of the evening if indicated for men, skirts, dresses, slacks and sweaters or blouses for women

It does say no jeans, but I wore jeans and sandals to dinner several times and they didn’t kick me out.  I don’t own a cocktail dress or evening gown and my husband doesn’t own a tux.  On any cruise ship for the ladies on formal nights if you wear something sparkly it’s all good.  Most all the ladies wear sparkly clothes on formal nights – dresses, skirts or pant suits.

most passengers wore the colors of the Italian flag on Italian night

Diners having fun on Italian night

They had two theme nights on our cruise, Italian night where people were asked to wear anything green, white, or red, and white night where passengers were requested to dress in white.  Of course not knowing about these in advance, not everyone had packed the appropriate colors, but more wore them than not.  Everyone on this ship had either early or late seating for dinner.  It did not offer the option of coming to the main dining room anytime during the dinner hours, though the buffet was open for anyone who wished to dine at a different time.

The smoking policy differed a bit from other ships we’ve been on.  We were quite happy about no smoking on stateroom balconies, but perplexed by the public smoking area right next to the children’s pool.  They have a cigar lounge where people can smoke behind closed doors where it isn’t so likely to bother others.  The casino is a bit confusing as it says it is 100% smoke free, yet management can designate a particular slot machine or table as a smoking area for a particular passenger if they should so choose. (Probably for a high roller whose money they want to stay in the casino, but how is that 100% smoke free?)   I only saw anyone smoke in there once so it was much better than other ships where casino patrons smoke freely.

About LBcruiseshipblogger

MyCruiseStories blog tells stories about adventures in cruising on ships big and small. Things to do onboard and in port. Anything connected to cruising. Also food, travel, recipes, towel animals, and the occasional random blog.
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28 Responses to MSC Divina

  1. Nicole says:

    Wow – everything on the ship seems so opulent. I can’t get over the crystal staircase! From your photos, everything appears festive.

    • Nicole, the MSC has a total of 100 crystal stairs, each of which cost $3,000 Euros. I would describe the ship as “refined elegance” not opulent as everything is very tasteful and not really overdone, unless you count the stairs, which really look more elegant than opulent.

  2. Lorraine Marie Reguly says:

    Hmm. I am a smoker and have not even thought about smoking on ships. Do most allow it? Is it allowed anywhere? Does each cruise ship have different rules?

    I can’t believe their hypocrisy of saying it’s 100% smoke-free and yet there is still someone smoking. Ugh. I feel for the non-smokers out there. Even though I smoke.

    • Much as I’d love a completely smoke-free ship (I’m allergic to tobacco smoke) they all allow it, some in more places than others as the policies do vary. We’ve had balconies we couldn’t use because of other people’s smoke. On most ships they allow smoking in the casino, so getting to go in there on the Divina was a nice treat for me. There’s normally an outside deck somewhere where it’s allowed and a cigar bar where people can smoke inside. Over the years smoking on the ships has gotten more restrictive as less people smoke and people are accustomed to the restrictions on public smoking that more states and cities have adopted.

      • Lorraine Marie Reguly says:

        Yeah, smokers are having a tough time smoking these days. Plus, they are looked upon as almost like lepers by non-smokers. Oh well. At least now I’m more informed. Thanks, Lois.

  3. Chris Beath says:

    That’s to many clothes rules. White is also a bad choice for going to eat. Anytime I wear white while eating I end up spilling something on it. The stair case is really nice though.

  4. cindy knoke says:

    Love your descriptions of different ships! So interesting~

  5. Sbas says:

    Thank you for all these informations. I will go on this cruise in April, and the dress code can not be found anywhere but here.
    I can’t wait to be on board.
    This might be strange, but do you know if they scan the luggages when boarding? i would like to bring a bottle of rum to leave in my room for appetizer. Do you think its doable?

    • All ships scan the luggage. MSC does not allow passengers to bring their own alcohol. They have plenty available on the ship though. The Divina is a beautiful ship, I’m sure you’ll have a great time on your cruise.

  6. Paul says:

    My wife and I want to book a cruise on the Divina for August this year. We have been reading some positive reviews along with many negative reviews. Most of the negative comments are about the poor service. And now my question. Would you recommend cruising on the Divina this year or waiting until MSC improves their service on the ship?

    • We went last November when the Divina was new to the USA. The cabin was always kept clean. The crew was transitioning from Europe mode where they mostly work behind the scenes to America mode where they greet passengers with a hello and a friendly smile. Stewards and waitstaff were happy to accommodate. Management was harder to contact. Special requests tended to take time. Regular day to day service was never an issue. The cruise director said they were taking all complaints to heart and improving with every cruise.

      A cruise is what you make of it, so if you are normally happy with the cruises you take it should be fine for you. Some people will find something to complain about no matter what. For those people no cruise will ever be perfect, but I don’t suppose anything else in their lives will either. We had no complaints. The Divina is a beautiful ship and often has good deals available. I’d be happy to sail on her again. They did not have bathrobes hanging in the room, but if you ask they will bring them.

  7. Marie says:

    I read somewhere that there is a dress code in all public rooms for after 6 pm – no shorts, etc. I’m assuming that means places like the casino and theater. Are they really strict about that dress code – do they kick you out if you wear shorts in the casino at night?

    • The only dress code we were aware of was the one for the dining room and they didn’t kick me out when I wore jeans to dinner a couple times. My husband wore shorts in the casino in the evening and didn’t get kicked out. On formal night I did dress up for dinner, but changed into jeans before going to the theater and nobody said anything even though pretty much everyone else was still dressed up from dinner. So if there is a dress code like that they didn’t enforce it on our cruise.

  8. jim says:

    I’m not clear on the jacket vs dinner jacket definition/standard. I never take more than one piece of luggage on any trip. Can I get by with a dark suit/white dress shirts on both the formal and ” formal” informal night? What is the policy on bringing a small quantity of soda on board?

    • The dark suit and white dress shirt would work fine for dinner any night. Divina does not allow passengers to bring any food or drinks onboard. They do have soda and alcohol packages people can purchase, and the buffet area has free juice at breakfast and flavored water the rest of the day.

      From MSC Website:
      In order to ensure safety and security standards, it is strictly forbidden to bring food and beverage onboard the Vessels. In compliance with this regulation and in order to guarantee the above standards, during embarkation a careful check control will be carried out through all passengers luggage. The items that are allowed are: personal hygiene products, cleansing products, lotions, fluid medications for therapeutic use, baby gear and baby food items, dietary items prescribed by a physician. Any local or “typical“ food item purchased during the cruise in any port of call will be collected and returned at the end of the cruise.

  9. Tina Petursson says:

    My husband and I are thinking of taking a cruise in February on your cruise line from Miami to the Caribbean – in fact, we have it on hold – and we have two young children ages 8 and 6 – our six year old will be 7 July of 2015 – our concern is that we have heard the kids club is split into 3 to 6 and 7 to 11 age groupings and our 6 year old is used to playing with children older and will not be content either leaving his sister or playing with 3 and 4 year olds. Our booking of the trip is quite dependant on knowing whether or not this a strict policy or if there will be allowances in this type of a situation? We would not want to book and then our kids not get to enjoy the kids club activities because our son is 5 months from his 7th birthday. Thanks!

    • Cruise lines in general adhere strictly to their policies and a day to young is too young. For more information about MSC specifically you may want to try calling them. They do have a phone number on their website.

      Kids club is not the answer for all children. When I took my grandson on a cruise at age 6 he loved the cruise, but hated kids club. The Divina has swimming pools, a kids pool, motion ride, waterslide, and race car simulator so there are other things for kids to do besides going to kids club.

  10. Belle says:

    Great information! Do you know if sandals can be worn on the gala/formal dinner nights?

  11. FmMaMa says:

    Thanks for the Great information! I never cruise with MSC before. I do have 1 minor question, most other ship provide juice in main dining room for kids for free, they only charge if you order soda. Does MSC have that?

  12. I’m glad you say they never kicked you out of the dining rooms for wearing jeans! I’ve been freaking om cruising on the Divina in a fortnight and I’ve been freaking out about the dress code. I’m travelling from New Zealand, and there’s no way I’m going to pack a suit in my luggage! How silly.

    • The jeans were nice ones and I did not wear them on formal night. For formal nights you will need something a bit better. It doesn’t have to be a suit. A pair of pants nicer than jeans and a button front shirt would do. The buffet is always an option too, no dressing up required there. No lobster there either though.

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