Orange County, CA
MSC Divina: European flair comes to Caribbean sailings
Named after godmother Sophia Loren, MSC Divina — the first of MSC Cruises’ ships dedicated to North Americans — is one of the line’s largest and most luxurious ships sailing from Miami to the Caribbean.
MSC Cruises has done a lot to prepare the 139,500 gross-ton MSC Divina to meet the needs of North American cruise passengers. Changes to the delivery of onboard announcements, signage and service standards have all been carefully modified to meed the expectations of U.S. and Canadian cruise passengers.
Who will like sailing on MSC Divina
With 1,751 staterooms, MSC Divina is a great choice for all kinds of cruise passengers, whether you're seeking luxury, family, corporate, LGBT, singles or multi-generational cruising.
Where MSC Divina sails
Home port: Miami
Destinations: MSC Divina sails the Caribbean year-round with a variety of 3- to 18-night cruises to destinations such as Cozumel, Costa Maya, Ocho Rios, Belize, Nassau, Montego Bay, Cartagena and elsewhere.
Top dining options
Black Crab & Villa Rosa
The Black Crab and Villa Rosa are the two formal dining room restaurants on MSC Divina. Overall the food was excellent. Ask the head waiter for suggestions because when I did, I got amazing service, piping hot food and things that I would not have been inclined to try.
For example, try the Pumpkin Ravioli – #yum. Ask the wait-person which of the pastas is made fresh that day: It’s totally worth the extra calories. The strip steak that is offered all time was marginal, however the prime rib and fillet offered as a nightly special on two other occasions were exceptional. I would recommend that carnivores (and vegetarians to some extent) head to Eataly Steakhouse for a delectable dining experience for meat eaters.
Le Muse: The great news is that this dining facility has amazing cuisine. The bad news (unless you're a member) is that it is for the exclusive use of MSC Yacht Club guests. I found the cuisine and service to rival that on any luxury cruise ship I have been on.
Calumet and Manitou offer self-service buffet for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Make sure to sample the pizza here because it’s really tasty. Don’t expect to see a Las Vegas-sized buffet extravaganza. Divina has enough options at the buffet, but there are plenty of other places to sit down and relax over a nice meal – think Mediterranean way of life. Convenient yes, but with so many people eating at the same time, it can be a chore trying to fend off your co-passengers.
Great for families: There are two ways that MSC Divina accommodates children and families during dining. One thing to ask about is MSC Cruises’ MSC Happy Dinners, where children select a meal from the kids’ menu which is served in the dining room while the adults enjoy their first course. Once the children have finished their meal, members of the kids’ club staff collect them to have fun with their friends.
Kid-friendly food on the children’s menu is a great option for young cruisers. Options include soup, pizza, pasta (such as spaghetti Bolognese or Carbonara), hamburgers, fish, hot dogs, served with sides like fries, vegetables or fruit.
Specialty dining options
Like other cruise lines, MSC Cruises offers passengers an opportunity to experience alternative dining. These restaurants offer unique experiences for an additional rate. For those passengers who are inclined to pay the nominal surcharge, I don’t think you will be disappointed. Your options are:
Eataly Steakhouse is designed after Eataly’s famed Manzo steakhouse in New York City. Eately Steakhouse on MSC Divina gives cruise passengers a chance to experience the popular chain restaurant while on vacation. For me, it was great because we don’t have access to Eataly in California. Verdict? I loved it!
Galaxy Disco – Restaurant: If you find yourself on deck 16 in the Galaxy Disco wondering where the heck the restaurant is, just look for the bar and the windows that overlook the main swimming pool and the sea. The Galaxy Disco – Restaurant serves a luxurious brunch on select sea days (for a nominal fee) as well as dinner, which is a la carte pricing.
Piazza Del Doge provides cruisers with an opportunity to sit back and enjoy a gelato (for an additional cost – try at least once), a pastry or cupcake (also at a nominal cost).
Caffè Italia in partnership with Segafredo Zanetti offers typical Italian favorites, from full-bodied espressos to flawlessly foamed cappuccinos, the Segafredo coffee and chocolate menu also includes a variety of specialist coffees and chocolate drinks.
Divina offers a wide variety of bars, each with its own ambience, specialities and sometimes entertainment. Some top options:
- La Cantina Di Bacco (Italian): The casual wine bar and pizzeria is easy to overlook with so many great places to relax on the ship. It’s worth making your way to deck 7 for wine from Divina's well-stocked cellar, along with fine beers from around the world. Pair it with authentic Italian pizza or with tapas featuring local specialties.
- Golden Jazz Bar: Relax beneath the bubble chandeliers of the Golden Jazz Bar with a jazz-inspired drink menu. Sip a rare whiskey, or enjoy cognac, aged grappa and more.
- Sports Bar is a solid venue for good “American-style” pub food. The decor here bar is bright and cheery, and there are plenty of TV monitors to catch up on sporting action or scores. The menu will satisfy those looking for chicken wings or other bar food vittles.
Beyond the theater, look for live music from jazz to classical throughout the ship, gaming in Casino Veneziano, a 4D Cinema, Formula-1 Simulator and more. There is not a bad seat in the house: The 1,600-seat Pantheon Theater provides an exquisite ambiance for surreal theatricality and dazzling performances, with a different show each evening. MSC Cruises has some of the finest entertainment at sea.
MSC Yacht Club: A luxury retreat
Those cruise passengers wanting a luxury cruise experience will want to book passage in the private enclave of MSC Yacht Club. The MSC Yacht Club is the lines' signature "ship-within-a-ship" concept, with 69 private suites on board. MSC Yacht Club guests can indulge in comfort and convenience, from their own personal butler and 24-hour concierge service to complimentary alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages available any time of the day throughout MSC Yacht Club's exclusive lounges and pool area.
The MSC Yacht Club experience is a great option for people who want to get away from it all to enjoy some peace and quiet, great service and wonderful meals at Le Muse Restaurant. Members can also just step back outside the Yacht Club’s ship-within-a-ship environment to enjoy entertainment, specialty dining, movies at night, shopping, the spa, fitness classes or the gym, a cocktail at one of the lounges, etc.
The Yacht Club is located toward the bow of the ship and is accessible with a member’s keycard. There are 69 suites served by butlers who help passengers throughout their cruise. Yacht Club guests have a private dining room called Le Muse as well as access to the spacious Top Sail Lounge and Bar on deck 15. The unobstructed, 180-degree views of the sea from the Top Sail Lounge are impressive, by the way. There is a concierge desk, which is staffed 24/7, and a private pool.
The best perks of the Yacht Club are sensational food in Le Muse Restaurant, butler service, more space, a private pool with plenty of space (remember the ship can accommodate 4000 cruise guests), and amenities like bottled water, sodas, specialty coffees, cocktails, or wine with dinner. Priority embarkation and debarkation are also an added bonus.
Other amenities & options
- A diva-worthy grand entrance features two dramatic Swarovski crystal staircases and a classical quartet to welcome you.
- Stroll past the 150 fountains of the Aqua Park with a poolside gelato bar.
- Try a Balinese massage in the exotic MSC Aurea Spa, graced with natural stone and wood finishes and floor-to-ceiling ocean views.
Carrie Finley-Bajak sailed on Divina on a press/blogger trip as a guest of MSC Cruises. See Cruiseable's Ethics & disclosure policy.
Updated from an earlier post.
Have you cruised on MSC Divina? What was the highlight? I'd love to hear about your experience.
Interested in a cruise on this ship?
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Top highlights on this ship
- 18 bars and lounges
- 5 swimming pools
- Exclusive partnerships with brands like Eataly, Segafredo Zanetti and Venchi.
- State-of-the-art theater with entertainment galore.
- MSC Divina has a huge space dedicated to active cruise passengers. The biggest buzz for me was the Aqua Cycling by Hydrorider.
- Digital entertainment includes the F1 simulator and 4-D movies