Wednesday, August 30, 2017

MSC Divina August 2017

Last week we were on the MSC Divina again for the fourth time. The price was right and we weren’t doing anything that week so we decided to sail on it again. The captain is Marco Massa, Hotel Director is Zbigniew Lisowski, Cruise Director is Andre Schlemmer, and Guest Relations manager is Carmelina Juliano. We had cabin 12285 with a full balcony. Dinner was at 6pm at table 519.

Day 1: Saturday 8/19/17

We arrived at the port at 10am and was through security and checked in by 11am. At 11:30, they let us board and we were at the Calumet Buffet at 11:45 waiting for them to open lunch at noon. The cabins were ready at 2:30pm but we could get in our cabin and drop stuff off before then. We bought a couple of books of drink tickets to use (18 alcoholic drinks for $89 and 18 nonalcoholic drinks for $49). They said we can buy more during the cruise if we need to. After lunch, we walked around and then decided to have some drinks. Don had 4 martinis and I had 2 cosmopolitans before the 3:30pm excursion talk. At 4:30 we had the life boat drill and then went back to the cabin to finish unpacking. I realized that we did not pack any dress pants for Don. After a little nap, we went to dinner at 6pm. Don wore his slip on black sports pants. We ate with a very nice couple from Michigan: Billie and Artie and the service was very good. After dinner, we walked around the deck and then went back to our cabin for an early night.

Day 2: Sunday 8/20/17 At Sea

I was up on deck at 5am playing on my computer. After breakfast, we walked an hour on the walking deck. At 10 I went to the arts and crafts where we decorated t-shirts with solar eclipse pictures using markers. Then we went to have a Frappuccino at the coffee shop. After lunch, we went back to our cabin. The ship sent us a bottle of Prosecco and a plate of chocolate covered strawberries which we enjoyed on our balcony. Then there was a Captain's reception where we had free cocktails before our formal night dinner. Exciting evening though. Some guest had to be evacuated by a coast guard helicopter to the Caicos Islands and then flown to Miami because of a medical emergency. After dinner, we peeked in the theater and watched the end of the show Mask.

Day 3: Monday 8/21/17 At Sea

After breakfast, we walked an hour on the walking deck. At 10 we had a Cruise Critic meet up in the Black and White Lounge and they served cocktails and h’oeuvre’s. Plus, they had a huge cake for us and we took a group picture. We met a nice couple Linda and JD from Paducah, Kentucky. Before lunch we talked to Natacha from Portugal who oversaw the Arts and Crafts. At noon, we had lunch in the Eataly Steakhouse. I had a 16-oz. ribeye and Don had this huge lobster! We also had appetizers of cold cuts and cheeses. For dessert Don had the cannoli and I had the bombolino which were like powdered donuts. After lunch, we ended up having a coffee drink at the coffee shop while we tried to figure out when the solar eclipse happened. Then we decided to walk to deck 16 and see what was going on. We found a nice spot where there were 5 other people hanging out: Brian and Kevin and their son David from Connecticut and Tasha and Jeremy from Colorado. Brian kept lending us his special glasses so we could see the eclipse which was very cool. We watched it until about 3:40. At 4, we went to a Veteran’s meetup and the only other person who showed was Brian. Then we had pre-dinner cocktails until we had to get ready for dinner. At dinner, they moved a new couple to our table: Shamali and Debra from Ft. Pierce. Shamali is a chef at a nuclear power plant and Debra works in a jail. About 6:30, Artie and Billie showed up. After dinner, we went back to the room to prepare for our next day in St. Maarten.

Day 4: Tuesday 8/22/17 St. Maarten

We got off the ship around 9am. We got to the beach (water taxi was $7 pp round trip) and got 2 chairs and an umbrella for $15. The guy started at $20 but when we said we would walk around first, he lowered it to $15. We got our bucket of beer from Caribbean Blend and it was $2 per beer so we ended up with 2 buckets of 6 beers while we were there. I got to visit my friend Suzette and gave her a shawl that I made. She was very busy in the restaurant. We left around 2:30 and came back to the ship. After cleaning up, we had a snack and an hour nap before going to dinner.

Day 5: Wednesday 8/23/17 San Juan

We got off the ship around 8:15 and walked to the fort on the right but we got there around 8:45 and it didn’t open until 9am so we walked to the fort on the left. It was already so hot and humid that I was soaked in sweat by the time we got there. We walked around and bought a Gatorade before leaving and walking around town. We walked about 5 miles before returning to the ship around 11:30. We ate lunch and talked to the executive chef (from England who now lives in Spain). Then we went back to the cabin to relax. On the way, they said that the dock was closed while the Allure of the Seas tied up and we watched as two ambulances were waiting. Eventually two gurneys were taken aboard ship so I hope those people are going to be okay. Then we relaxed in our cabin until 4pm. We had a cocktail before the Black card party. I was disappointed that I didn’t get to have a picture with the captain. After that we went to dinner and then came back to the cabin. I watched a Sex in the City movie until I went to sleep.

Day 6: Thursday 8/24/17 At Sea

After breakfast, we did our exercise walk. For lunch, we went to the Eataly Steakhouse and I had a filet mignon (8 oz.) with a side of peppercorn sauce and Don had the surf and turf (5 oz. filet mignon and lobster tail). Both were excellent! After lunch, we had a Chococinno at the coffee shop. The rest of the afternoon we relaxed on our balcony until it was time to get ready for the evening. We had pre-dinner cocktails in the Divina bar and then went to dinner. After dinner, we went to the Welcome Back party where we sat with Linda and JD and Brian and Kevin. Before we left, we got a picture with the Captain. Then we went to the show Treasure Island which I enjoyed. There were a lot of Cirque du Soleil type acts in the show.

Day 7: Friday 8/25/17 Nassau

We didn’t get off the ship at all. After breakfast we did our exercising. Then we went back to the cabin and packed until lunch time. After lunch we relaxed on our balcony until it was time to get ready for dinner. We picked up our free photo with the Captain and then we went on to dinner. After dinner we stopped for a cocktail before the show. Then we saw the show: Tribute to Michael Jackson. After the show we had a couple of frozen coffee drinks before returning to the cabin and putting our suitcases out in the hall.

Day 8: Saturday Debarkation

We had breakfast at 5:45 and then met in the Pantheon Theater by 7am. At 7:15, they escorted us off the ship. Getting our bags and out through customs was extremely fast and easy. We were in our car and on the road by 7:30. We got back home by 6:30pm.

Things I Learned:

1.     Champagne is sparkling wine from France; Prosecco is sparkling wine from Italy.
2.     The number of cruise critics are growing at their meet and greet but the number of people that signed up didn’t all show.
3.     The number of Black Card members are growing.
4.     They didn’t offer martinis at the Black Card party or the Welcome Back Party
5.     It was nice to see Carmelina the Guest Relations manager again.
6.     We like the Choccocino (frozen coffee drink) the best at the coffee shop.
7.     The food isn’t that great on MSC unless you go to the specialty restaurant.
8.     The coupon books are the best value on the ship!
9.     You can’t save the coupons and use them on another cruise.
10.  We never got our 2nd bottle of Prosecco or plate of chocolate covered strawberries.

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