Third Mate

Joined: 04/24/2014
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govaluetravel's Past Cruises

MSC Divina

May 2014 - MSC Divina to Caribbean - Western

Mama Mia, Itsa Divina!

Embarcation was easy and quick.  We checked in later in the Afternoon so the lines were quite short.  Staff was courteous and knowledgeable.

Our balcony cabin was smaller than expected.  We later discovered there are two categories of balcony cabins.  One is much larger and more expensive, of course.  Make sure you know which one you are getting.  The cabin was clean and our steward did a great job keeping it that way.


Food and service in the main dining room was fine.  The cafeteria was another story.  It is laid out so that passengers have to walk to many different parts of the cafeteria to find what they want for that meal.  In an already crowded space, this causes great congestion as people balance plates, and drinks and try to weave their way through others doing the same thing.  Then when one gets that plate and drink to the table, it's often necessary to go back to another part of the cafeteria to get a salad or desert, etc.  In this cafeteria, too many food stations are not a good thing.  The servers also  have difficulty getting to the passengers, so the quality of service suffers.


Also disappointing was the optional steak house.  It looks more like a 1950s diner than an upscale dining experience.  This decor may appeal to Europeans, but it misses the mark for North American passengers. The steak I had was also prepared for European tastes.


This is an Italian cruise line.  We were surprised at the number of European passengers on a Caribbean cruise.  We heard that only 30% of the passengers had English as a first language.  There were certainly plenty of other languages heard on board.  This added to the attraction of the cruise.  All of the staff spoke English and most of the entertainment games, such as trivia, were in English.  The entertainment staff did a fine job keeping folks entertained, whatever their language, on sea days. 


The entertainment on board was excellent.  Large ships, such as the Divina., (3400 passengers) have larger show rooms and can put on more spectacular shows.   The shows we saw were a blend of singing, dancing, and circus acts.  We were amazed by the flexibility of the three Mongolian contortionists, the antics of the tumblers, and the strength of the strong men.  And since this is an Italian line a couple of the shows were opera based, The show room was large enough to accomodate everyone comfortably.  Those who arrived early for the show were entertained by antics of the Entertainment staff.


As late diners, we liked the fact that the show for the late dining group preceeded dinner. That scheduling allowed us to see the show and enjoy the late ner evening activities elsewhere on board. One of those activities was Movies Under the Stars.  Big screen, small audiences, good movies.


Other recommended activities were the water slide and the Formula One race car simulator.  Both were fast and exciting.  The race car simulator is an added cost, but even if you don't pay to drive it, it's great fun simply to watch.  Problem is finding it.  It's on deck sixteen in the arcade area. Keep looking, it's worth it.


The common areas on board were very good.  Check out the crystal staircase in the atrium while listening to a classical trio perform before dinner. The pool areas were as crowded as usual on cruise ships.  There was a separate pool area for frequent passengers, MSC Yacht Club, and suite passengers.






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Allure of the Seas

March 2014 - Allure of the Seas to Caribbean - Eastern

An "Allure-ing" Week

An “Allure-ing” Week We just spent a week on the largest cruise ship in the world, Royal Caribbean’s Allure of the Seas. This ship is so large it takes an effort to find ocean views, unless you are in an ocean side balcony cabin. With two to a cabin the ship carries 5400 passengers.  Our cabin was an INSIDE balcony.  It overlooked the center of the ship at the Boardwalk.  There are more inside balcony  cabins overlooking the inside of the ship at Central Park.  This ship offers unusual activities: for the adventurous a zip line, for the risk takers two 5- deck-high climbing walls,  for the athletic two surfing pools, for northerners an ice skating rink, for the genteel a miniature golf course, for the young or young-at-heart  a merry go round, for the lucky a large casino, and for the unlucky a variety of bars. This ship is family-friendly.  There is a pool area designed for children with many pools–even a water cannon.  Dreamworks characters such as Shreck, and the Lion King parade in the promenade and are available for breakfast with children.  Daytime entertainment for the family includes spectacular water shows at the outside theater. In all the ship has 21 pool .Some are set aside for adults in the solarium.  Evening entertainment varies from the usual evening shows. During the week we saw the musical “Chicago,” a show on ice in the skating arena, a variety show called the Blue Planet, a comedy show, a Motown show, and the exciting Ocean Aria.  The Ocean Aria was a mix of tumblers, trampoline, trapezes, dancers and divers.  Some of the dives started about 55 feet above the pool.  Advice, reserve your place at these shows well in advance.  The shows are included in the price of the cruise, but the theaters cannot handle all passengers at the same time.  The shows do not run every evening.  We reserved six weeks in advance of sailing.  Many of the show times were already fully booked.  Booking is available on-line or your travel agent can book for you. The service and food on the ship were quite good.  The main dining room is three decks tall and can get noisy at dinner time.  Many optional restaurants are available at an extra charge.  You can book those in advance or on board.  The cafeteria on board was excellent and not congested as many cruise ship cafeterias are. 





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govaluetravel's Tips

George Town, Grand Cayman - Plenty of tour vendors near the ship. We found a charming and knowledgeable guide. We purchased a 4 hour tour for $20 in a van that held nine.
Cozumel, Mexico - Another place to buy a ship's excursion. The one to the Mayan pyramids is a good option.
Falmouth, Jamaica - A small village is near the ship. You can get to Montego Bay, but there isn't much there either. Best to book the ship's excursions to see more of Jamaica.
MSC Divina MSC Divina - MSC is a lower price cruise experience for those who appreciate value and an international group of passengers.

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received a helpful vote on their Allure of the Seas cruise review - An "Allure-ing" Week

received a helpful vote on their Allure of the Seas cruise review - An "Allure-ing" Week

received a helpful vote on their MSC Divina cruise review - Mama Mia, Itsa Divina!

received a helpful vote on their MSC Divina cruise review - Mama Mia, Itsa Divina!

received a helpful vote on their Allure of the Seas cruise review - An "Allure-ing" Week

received a helpful vote on their MSC Divina cruise review - Mama Mia, Itsa Divina!

received a helpful vote on their MSC Divina cruise review - Mama Mia, Itsa Divina!

received a helpful vote on their MSC Divina cruise review - Mama Mia, Itsa Divina!

received a helpful vote on their MSC Divina cruise review - Mama Mia, Itsa Divina!

voted up a MSC Divina cruise review written by govaluetravel - Mama Mia, Itsa Divina!