One day while surfing through Sky Auction.com, my husband came across an 11 day Caribbean cruise on the MSC Divina up for bid. We didn’t know much about MSC, though we had seen the Poseia in port before on a previous cruise. The bidding was at $401 for an inside room, and had several rooms available so rather than raising it he matched the highest bid, not truly expecting to win the cruise for that price. When the auction ended, the notification came that we did indeed win, and for $75 could upgrade that to a balcony. Balconies normally cost a lot more than $75 over the price of an inside room, so we jumped on that one. Much like booking through category guarantee, we knew only what room type we would have, but not which specific room.
Just a couple days before setting sail we were given room number 9145, but already in the midst of traveling since we set out for Miami ahead of time flying standby we never got the chance to look up the deck plans and see where the room was located or how it compared to other rooms. Considering the price we paid, we more or less expected all along to get their lowest category of balcony cabin, probably the smallest and worst room they had.
Imagine our surprise upon entering our cabin to find out that not only did we get a good cabin, but we got a really special one. One of only four cabins on the Divina turned long side to the sea instead of short end because of its location at the front of the atrium. This cabin had a double length balcony running down the long side of the room rather than the usual short end sized balcony. The other three like it are 9146 on the opposite side of the atrium, and 8144 and 8147 on the deck below.
Doors to the cabins normally come from a hallway into a short end of the room as well. Since the door to this room came on one end of a long side it had the closets on one side of the doorway and bathroom on the other. Then it had a little area with a couch and TV and the sliding door out to the veranda.
On the other side of the wall with the closet sat the bedroom area, so it was nearly divided into two rooms. The bedroom area had a desk and another TV. (Most rooms just get one TV.)
Doors to cruise ship cabins usually open onto narrow hallways. Ours opened onto a wide area where the hallway made a bend around the end of the atrium. A glass window gave a nice view into the atrium, and at the corner sat a sculpture on a stand with an area big enough to sit on – sort of like our own little courtyard with a view!
We really loved this room, the best one we have ever had on any cruise ship. The two room-like quality made it nice if one person wanted to sleep or watch TV while the other wanted to read or work on their computer. The spacious balcony was very nice too. We also enjoyed the atrium view whenever entering or leaving the room, though other passengers did have a tendency to trash “our” courtyard area leaving dirty dishes or even random clothing on the bench there. The hard-working crew would come by to pick things up sooner or later though. The dishes they normally picked up fairly quickly, while clothing sat quite some time, waiting for the rightful owner to come along and claim it I suppose.
We ran into a few people who had paid a lot more than we did for the cruise and ended up in one of the tiny balcony cabins just behind the atrium area. If you pick a specific cabin when booking it pays to study the deck plans first.
I don’t know what the odds are of ever getting such a nice cabin again, but probably not too high. The special ones usually get booked very early. We sure enjoyed it while we had it though.
For more blogs about cabins see My Cruise Stories Ships and Cabins page.