MSC Divina Review
Gracing the main stage in a shimmering floor-length gown, it was Sophia Loren who stole the show at the star-studded launch of MSC Divina in May. Joined by legendary French actor Gérard Depardieu, Italian jazz icon Paolo Conte and violinist Maxim Vengerov, Ms Loren welcomed MSC’s newest addition to the fleet with all the elegance, class and sophistication you might expect.
As the third ship in the Fantasia class and 12th in the MSC fleet, Divina is not simply another addition to their growing list of beautiful ships. Instead, the influence and involvement of the iconic Italian film star are more evident than ever, beginning with one particularly fundamental detail: its name.
Ms Loren recounts: “One evening, I was chatting to Gianluigi [Aponte, MSC’s founder and president] Ms Loren’s favourite novels. Despite these, Divina bears a striking resemblance to her sisters and boasts a number of luxurious additions.
If you’ve ever spent any time on board Fantasia or Splendida, you’ll have no problem navigating Divina’s 14 passenger decks and, apart from her sleek new colour palette and unique deck and restaurant names,Divina’s general layout sees very few changes. Likewise, the design of the cabins remains nearly untouched, and yet the unexpected spaces and additional luxuries manage to produce a decidedly Mediterranean flavour and give Divina a personality of her own.
One such unexpected space can be found at the very stern of the 15th deck, where a stunning infinity pool offers panoramic views out over a gentle trail of wake. Sitting within the Zen Area, the Garden about wishes and desires. I mentioned my dream of having a ship named after me and he immediately suggested ‘Divina’, as a divine experience gives you memories that will last forever.”
Ms Loren’s influence extends to suite number 16007, which can be found in the MSC Yacht Club – the exclusive section of the ship dedicated to an ultra-luxury experience. The ship’s godmother selected the rich palette of deep reds that are used throughout; the cabin features a set of specially designed lamps and the walls are decorated with photographs of Ms Loren in her most memorable roles. The final touch takes shape in a replica of her personal dressing table, where cabin guests will be able to prepare for glamorous gala dinners in true Sophia Loren style. The plush MSC Yacht Club library also features a collection of 20 of leave your locks looking shiny and radiant, meanwhile MSC’s first barbershop is happy to provide some masculine pampering for those gentlemen in need of a cut or shave. Divina is also the first in the fleet to offer Neophor, an anti-aging medical treatment, and her state-of-the-art fitness centre has welcomed the addition of a spinning centre and Arke equipment.
The dining options on board have also expanded to suit a variety of tastes. The range of wine and regionally inspired Italian pizzas are the focal point of La Cantina di Bacco, however, they also have an array of tapas and more than 20 types of beer to choose from. For the kids, the Sacramento Hamburger House is a fast favourite and delivers crispy fried chicken bites and mini hamburgers to booths straight out of a 1950s diner. For an afternoon snack, the Nutella Corner offers chocolate-laden crêpes to satisfy the sweetest of teeth, and if the kids are in need of some poolside refreshment, they can create a slushy masterpiece at the Happy Puppy ice crystal drink stand.
For finer dining, the fashionable Galaxy restaurant models itself on a 1950s Italian supper club. Floor to ceiling windows offer incredible views, and the menu evolves as the day progresses, offering plenty of options for a lazy brunch in the morning, a menu of Mediterranean-inspired dishes in the evening and a selection of cocktails at night, when the restaurant transforms into a starlit disco.
One final Mediterranean touch exists in the re-creation of a typical Venetian ‘piazzetta’. Boasting a decadent Italian bakery and coffee bar, the Piazza Del Doge features a stoneware floor, carved pillars and murals of famous Italian landscapes, making it the perfect place to enjoy a leisurely cappuccino.
For entertainment, the Smurf-themed play area is a new creation for Divina’s youngest guests and, whileDivina’s lavish 1,600-seat Pantheon Theatre may feel familiar, three of its seven performances are new. The Kingdom Of The Pharoahs, Planet Music and Italian Genius will be performed for the first time on boardDivina, and will complement established favourites including Michael Jackson tribute Starwalker, and figure-skating spectacle Kids’ Story On Ice.