A Look at MSC’s Divina
TEXT SIZE A + A -

MSC Divina in Miami

Built in 2012, the MSC Divina carries 3500 passengers and like all of the MSC Cruises fleet is a family oriented ship. Take a look at what makes the Divina so ‘divine’.

ACCOMMODATION

There are over 1,700 cabins available onboard the Divina with 95 percent of them having balconies. There are also inside and ocean view cabins and something that will work for those traveling with children, the ‘Super Family Cabins’. These are two balcony cabins combined into one and offering double the space.

Super Family Cabins

There are several classes of suites including the Aurea Suites which offer panoramic views. The Yacht Club cabins and suites are located on the 15th and 16th floors and promise a level of exclusivity to passengers with its “ship-within-a-ship” concept. Those in the Yacht Club Suites have a private lounge with a buffet service, a swimming pool and a sundeck. All cabins have interactive flat-screen TV and Internet connectivity.

Yacht Club Suite

Those booked in suites obtain added benefits such as the concierge service, a Nintendo Wii with a library of games, an enormous marble bathroom with luxury toiletries and a complimentary mini-bar.

DINING

The MSC Divina contains several speciality restaurants including the Tex Mex restaurant. The main dining areas on the ship are The Black Crab and Villa Rossa. Both restaurants contain exactly the same menus and consist of five courses for dinner.

Two extensive buffets, the Manitou and Calumet contain everything from international dishes to hamburgers and hot dogs. In the mornings they serve a continental breakfast.

Divina Calumet Buffet

Other dining areas include the Eataly Steakhouse, well known for their prime cuts of meat, Ristorante Italia which has a large amount of dishes from Tuscany and for those that want something different than pasta, La Cantina di Bacco, is a casual restaurant that offers tapas and a good range of pizza options. If you wish to eat in, there is also room service and a pizza delivery.

The Eataly Steakhouse

THINGS TO DO

Those that are used to traditional shows will be surprised at the extravagance on Divina with its thrilling acrobatic and contortionism in its pirate themed shows and operas. Located in the neon and crystal decorated Pantheon Theatre, these shows are sure to leave a lasting impression.

Those that want to try to sing like a star should try out the karaoke at the Golden Jazz Bar. The Sports Bar located next door offers the latest up to date news on all major sports and has a lot of snack food to enjoy while you are there.

Divina Sports Bar

MSC Divina offers many opportunities for the sports minded. There is a basketball court, football and volleyball facilities and exercise equipment in the fitness centre. There is also yoga and zumba classes offered that are sure to give the body a good workout.

Of course, don’t forget the various pools, all of which are a great place to cool down and relax. The main pool is the Garden Pool which is adults only and contains a more casual atmosphere. The bar nearby provides perfect refreshments.

Divina garden pool

Unique family fun can be found with the Formula 1 Simulator and the 4D Cinema, both of which offer a way to escape from reality and immerse in a private world.

For pure relaxation, head to the Spa which covers an area of over 20,000 square feet. The large number of treatments on their menu range from simple massages to Shiatsu.

ITINERARIES

The MSC Divina is gearing up for her ‘Grand Voyage’ and is returning back to Europe. She will be departing from Miami on the 26th of April for a 20 night sailing. Ports of call include King’s Wharf in Bermuda, a 2-day stop in New York, Ponta Delgada in the Azores, Lisbon, Cadiz (Seville), Barcelona, Naples before finishing up on the 16th of May in Civitavecchia (Rome).

A shorter segment of 17 nights is also available. The Divina will then be doing seven night itineraries throughout the Mediterranean until Oct 24, 2015, when she heads west towards the Caribbean on another Grand Voyage of 18 nights.

Images courtesy of MSC Cruises

Written by

Save

New Cruise Line Rules to benefit Non Smokers
TEXT SIZE A + A -

Smoking is one of the most challenging habits there is to change. Over the years, it has been banned from the workplace, pubs and restaurants and almost all public places across the UK. The aim was to reduce the exposure of non-smokers to second-hand smoke, which has a harmful effect on all. After six years with the ban in effect, enforcement officials claim to have seen the benefits and estimate that the next 20 years will halve smoking rates.

cigarette smoke

Cruise ships were not left out and had created dedicated areas smoking areas. However, there is a major change on the high seas for even more restrictions to smoking passengers.

Since August, Cunard and Seabourn placed in restrictive rules pertaining to smoking areas on their ships.

Commencing in February 2014, Seabourn will also ban smoking in staterooms on its six ships. Smokers will still be able to light-up a cigarette on verandas and in designated public areas on deck.

On Cunard’s ships, there has been a ban on smoking in cabins and public places onboard for some time, but smoking on balconies will also be banned beginning with the Queen Victoria on the 28th of April 2014. There will still be designated areas for smoking on the open decks. There is a no-smoking policy in all Cunard ship’s restaurants.

queen victoria queens grill

Image courtesy of Cunard Cruises

P&O Cruises also announced a ban last month that as of March 2014, smoking will no longer be permitted on balconies.

This move has pushed many more cruise lines to implement increasingly stringent regulations towards smoking.

Last week, one of the major players in cruising, Royal Caribbean surprised the industry by following Cunard and P&O Cruises stance, to forbid smoking in their cabin balconies.

The ban on Royal Caribbean ships will go into effect starting 1 January 2014 and will apply to its entire fleet with the exception to those based out of Asia.

RCCL is planning on fully enforcing the ban and those caught smoking on a cabin balcony will be hit with a £190 ($250) fine. Inside stateroom have already had a smoking ban imposed for a while.

The new restrictions apply to electronic cigarettes also.

This ruling on smoking for Royal Caribbean passengers will be extremely restrictive. The only areas that will allow smoking on most Royal Caribbean ships are the Casino (only at designated times), on the outer decks on the starboard side of all ships and in Connoisseur Club on selected ships.

In a public notification, Royal Caribbean says its new non-smoking policies are the result of “careful consideration and review of guest feedback.”

MSC Cruises has changed their smoking policy prior to RCCL’s announcement. The line announced it would expand its smoke-free policy. Commencing 2 November 2013 on MSC Divina’s transatlantic voyage from Venice to Miami, smoking will be restricted to the Cigar Lounge and the port side of designated outside decks.

msc divina cigar lounge

Image courtesy of MSC Cruises

There’s been no word from Carnival and Norwegian Cruise Line as of yet. They appear to still allow smoking on balconies, but there may be a few tweaks to their existing policies in the upcoming weeks.

Instead of taking the new rulings as a negative, turn it into an opportunity. A great many smokers say they would happily stop smoking if they could only find a way of doing it.

This is easier said than done and one of the hardest parts of quitting is filling the gap with something that will encourage a person to actually want to abstain from smoking again. Perhaps a cruise holiday is the best way to start. With all the activities and destinations that a cruise holiday provides, make it a stop smoking program that is much easier to endure.

For non-smokers, it allows a cruise holiday with more breathing room. For smokers, it will be a great way to take the cure.

Written by

The Benefits of Cruising for Solo Travellers
TEXT SIZE A + A -

There are a multitude of reasons why cruise holidays are the perfect holiday choice for people who are travelling solo. Friendly cruise passengers, high safety levels and plenty of entertainment and group activities are just a few of the reasons why cruises are wonderfully suited for those travelling alone. Read the comments below.

Solo Cruising

If you’ve ever been on a cruise holiday before you’ll agree with me when I say how much friendlier people seem to be on a cruise.

People are always striking up conversations with those around them, whether they’re in a queue for an elevator, sitting next to you in the casino, in a bar or whilst enjoying some entertainment in the evening. Because people are friendly and talkative it’s easy to strike up new friendships with fellow cruise passengers.

bar friends

You will also have the option of dining with other cruise passengers on board at meal times and especially in the evening for dinner. When you book your cruise holiday, with the majority of cruise lines you will be asked what size of table you would like to eat you evening meal at, if you pick the fixed dining option.

This would see you seated at a table with the same people and the same waiters every night of your cruise holiday. This can be the perfect opportunity to make friends, chat to new people and generally enjoy your holiday in good company. Perfect for those who might be travelling alone, but who don’t want to be lonely.

dining

There is also the safety aspect to consider when thinking of booking a cruise holiday. If you are otherwise reluctant to travel alone without the reassurance of being with other people then a cruise could be the answer.

On board safety and security of guests is always of paramount importance. You needn’t feel intimidated or at risk when on board or during ship organised shore excursions as you will always be with other people and security officers are always working on board.

If you are travelling alone and wouldn’t decide to go to a traditional land based holiday resort for fear you might become bored of the usual monotonous holiday entertainment then a cruise would provide the perfect alternative.

Cruise holidays offer a plethora of entertainment options available including Broadway style stage shows, casinos, live music, dancing, nightclubs, numerous bars and much more to enjoy in the evening.

During the day there are also dance classes, art classes and events, culinary shows, swimming pools and Jacuzzis, podium talks, destination talks and much more. There’s definitely something to keep every cruise passenger occupied throughout their holiday.

entertainment options

So, with all of these reasons why cruise holidays can be perfect for the solo travellers out there, what are you waiting for? Why not book a cruise holiday and find out for yourself how great they can be!  

Have you cruised alone before? If so we would like to hear your comments below.

Thanks

Are All Inclusive Drinks Packages good value?
TEXT SIZE A + A -

In recent times I have noticed that there has been an increasing amount of ships and cruise companies offering complimentary drinks packages with certain bookings, or the option to upgrade you cruise holiday to an all inclusive package which includes drinks at the time of booking.

Celebrity Cruises is one example. They have been offering complimentary drinks packages on selected European sailings in 2013 which depart from the UK on Celebrity Infinity and Celebrity Eclipse. Complimentary drinks packages such as these ones generally include soft drinks, coffees, domestic spirits, beers and house wines with premium spirits, fine wines and selected other drinks incurring a charge.

Martini Bar on Celebrity Infinity

Complimentary deals such as these can be great value if you’re not too fussy with what you’ll be drinking while you are on your cruise holiday. If you don’t necessarily need premium spirits and expensive wines during your time on board, then packages such as these can be real bargains as you will barely have to spend a penny on your on board account on drinks.

Also the Spanish line Pullmantur Cruises have all inclusive packages on all of their ships and at very good prices with Cruises from Barcelona a very popular choice on their ship Sovereign.

Fusion Restaurant Bar On Sovereign

If however, you’re a lover of a particular wine or spirit that you know won’t be included within an alcohol package such as this one, then it’s perhaps not the best deal for you, and I wouldn’t allow it to sway which cruise holiday I was thinking of booking.

If you fall into the latter category then cruise companies which offer ALL drinks complimentary with all sailings, such as Seabourn, could definitely be the answer if you’re a fan of premium wines and spirits. With this sort of policy in place on board it allows all passengers to enjoy fine wines and delicious spirits without having to worry about running up a big tab, as it’s all included in the price you pay for your cruise holiday.

Observation Bar on Seabourn Sojourn

Of course, cruises on board Seabourn are more expensive than your average cruise. However, if you are going to spend a considerable amount of money during a normal cruise on wines, spirits and other beverages then it could work out just as cost effective. If you are prepared to spend a bit more on the initial cruise and then enjoy not having to spend any money on drinks during your cruise holiday. Do your maths and try to come up with a figure of how much you generally spend on board on drinks and if it’s worth the extra money, you might just surprise yourself!

With the majority of cruise companies it is possible to purchase drinks packages once you are on board. You can generally purchase soda packages that will give you unlimited soda or wine packages that will give you a discount on a certain number of bottles. Have a look at the sample packages offered (these can normally be found on the website) and again, do the maths to work out the potential savings.

Thanks