JohnCG

JohnCG
Third Mate

Hometown: Virginia Beach, VA
Joined: 01/21/2015
2
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JohnCG's Past Cruises

Celebrity Eclipse

February 2016 - Celebrity Eclipse to Caribbean - Southern

14 Day Birthday Celebration Cruise on Celebrity Eclipse

We selected this cruise to celebrate my wife's 60th birthday.  She had never had 2 weeks off work in her life!  The itinerary, Aruba, overnight in Curacao, Barbados, St Lucia, Antigua, St Kitts, and St Maarten are all ports we have visited repeatedly and enjoy.  We booked a Concierge Class cabin on deck 9 and were very satisfied.  We prefer Concierge for its extra amenties, like sparkling wine, flowers, fruit, and a full breakfast menu for room service.  Service as usual on Celebrity was excellent.  We enjoy late dining at a table for 2, and the menus in the main dining room were quite good.  My wife enjoys seafood every night, and it was not repeated and included lobster.  We did eat in Toscano specialty restaurant one night on her birthday.  We were also invited to dine with the Staff Captain in Luminae, the suite restaurant, one night with two other couples.  The buffet pizza is quite good, very thin crust, and available till midnight.  There were only 3 production shows in 2 weeks, which was a bit disappointing.  What they did have was a series of afternoon and evening shows featuring some onboard cast singers and other singers throughout the weeks.  The passengers were a bit older than most 7 day cruise passengers on this 14 day sailing, and English couples were highly represented.

While Celebrity has done away with formal nights, they have Chic Evenings, there were a significant number of tuxedoes and long gowns, which we prefer.  There were many passengers booking onboard, and especially for more 2 week sailings.  Some passengers were even sailing back to back 2 week cruises.

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MSC Divina

December 2014 - MSC Divina to Caribbean - Eastern

Another chance to dance on MSC

This was our third MSC cruise, the first two having been on MSC Opera and MSC Orchestra.  We chose it not so much for itinerary as for the various dancing venues available on MSC.  We flew to Fort Lauderdale on Southwest and took Go Shuttle Private car shuttle to Miami.

 

We had booked a category B2 balcony, 11305, and found that when we got to the room we found that it had an extended aft view balcony.  The ones on decks 10 and 11 are the only ones with the extended aft balcony.  Ample storage for two but could be tight for three or four.  It has a solid plastic shower enclosure.  Flat screen TV but only about 19 inch screen.

 

MSC offers a 7 bottle wine package for $160.  They also had an 18 drink package available for $72.

 

They offered an Internet package of 5 hours for $99, or 8 hours for $130, in addition to per minute rates. Speed was satisfactory.

 

We enjoyed the buffet area for breakfast, although they had no made-to-order omelettes.  They did have omelettes on the buffet trays, and pre-fried eggs.  My only complaint is that they needed to have a separate line just for the egg items, as the buffet line can get long when people are trying to get something other than eggs, like toast or English muffins, as people didn't want to let you in just for that.

 

While we were initially assigned a larger table in the Black Crab restaurant for dinner, we were able to arrange a table for two by contacting the maitre de' the first afternoon.  He had us meet him at dinner time and he escorted us to our table in the Villa Rosso restaurant.  Menus were varied.  My wife enjoys seafood, and had haki, corvina, seafood kabob, salmon, Mahi Mahi, Lobster and hake in parchment.  I enjoyed rack of lamb, prime rib, osso bucco, leg of lamb, Italian pasta with sausages, Lobster, and strip loin steak.  Don't believe those who tell you that they only serve Italian food on MSC.  On the second formal night they even had flaming Baked Alaska.

 

The wine bar offers flights of Italian wines, or reasonably priced wines by the glass.  They provide antipasto plates with the wine.  This area also sells custom-made pizza by the yard!  There was also winemaker from a vineyard in California aboard offering winemaking classes twice a day, and you get to keep the wine.

 

The evening shows all used prerecorded music.  The first show was a tribute of Frank Sinatra songs.  The second was Wonderland, a mix of dancers, acrobats, vocalists and elaborate costumes.  In the afternoon of the third day they had a performance of an excerpt from an opera, La Traviata, with a male and female lead, and after a terrific performance they received a standing ovation from the entire theatre.  That evening they had a performance of Italian love songs, with two excellent vocalists.  On the fourth day the show was The Witches of Paris, in a format similar to the second day show, but a French variety show, ala Moulon Rouge style.  Next was a Michael Jackson music tribute, and on the last night the show was a series of great opera songs.

There were a significant number of children aboard and they were mostly enrolled in the children’s programs.  Periodically you would see them parading with their children’s program staff, holding hands and chanting together. 

 

We found a group called the Golden Duo to dance to in the evenings, and a soloist in the open air Garden Bar for dancing, and the Black and White Lounge had a mix of mambo, Caribbean, etc in the evenings.  The evening of the Italian night they had some activities and refreshments in there, too, and that was also the location of the MSC Club get together, a much better location than a theater, as used on some other lines.

 

Announcements by the cruise director were solely in English.  The boat drill did use five languages.  We found all the crew we met to be conversant adequately in English.

 

Ports were St Maarten, San Juan, and Great Stirrup Cay, which has been greatly expanded and tender piers developed since our last visit.

 

Luggage didn’t have to be out on the last night until 2am, but we did have to vacate the stateroom by 7am the last morning.  We didn't leave the ship till after 10, as we had a later flight home.  We could relax in the buffet area while we waited.

 

In summary, we loved MSC Divina and enjoyed it so much we purchased a future cruise certificate and can look to 2016 for Divina, or possibly another MSC ship which may be homeported in Florida.

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received a helpful vote on their Celebrity Eclipse cruise review - 14 Day Birthday Celebration Cruise on Celebrity Eclipse

received a helpful vote on their Celebrity Eclipse cruise review - 14 Day Birthday Celebration Cruise on Celebrity Eclipse

received a helpful vote on their Celebrity Eclipse cruise review - 14 Day Birthday Celebration Cruise on Celebrity Eclipse

received a helpful vote on their Celebrity Eclipse cruise review - 14 Day Birthday Celebration Cruise on Celebrity Eclipse

received a helpful vote on their Celebrity Eclipse cruise review - 14 Day Birthday Celebration Cruise on Celebrity Eclipse

received a helpful vote on their Celebrity Eclipse cruise review - 14 Day Birthday Celebration Cruise on Celebrity Eclipse

received a helpful vote on their Celebrity Eclipse cruise review - 14 Day Birthday Celebration Cruise on Celebrity Eclipse

received a helpful vote on their Celebrity Eclipse cruise review - 14 Day Birthday Celebration Cruise on Celebrity Eclipse

reviewed their Caribbean - Southern cruise on Celebrity Eclipse and gave it 4 stars!

added Feb 21, 2016 cruise on Celebrity Eclipse to their profile.