The Ross family embark on their first cruise on MSC Divina – and are delighted with their holiday at sea


Are these the same steps as in the Queen’s palace?” asks our daughter Liberty in awe as we climb the Swarovski-crystal staircase up to the Yacht Club on MSC Divina. As our butler guides us into an oasis of elegance, I start to wonder the same thing.

Tying in with the school holidays, the Mediterranean voyage on MSC Divina was perfect for us – round-trip from Rome,
 with ports of call including Cannes, Naples and Barcelona, and a day at sea. What also appealed was the idea of knowing that all our food and entertainment, including kids’ clubs, would be included – a definite bonus.

From the moment they saw the ship, the children – five-year-old Liberty and Miles, seven, were enchanted; we were impressed by its elegance and glamour. Inspired by Sophia Loren, godmother to all MSC ships, MSC Divina’s décor is distinctly Italian: bold and luxurious. Our suite was part of the ‘Yacht Club’, MSC’s ‘ship within a ship’. There are just 69 Yacht Club staterooms, with 24-hour butler service and room service, as well as a private restaurant, lounge and pool area.

Our suite was sumptuous, with large mirrors to effectively create a sense of space, clean lines with real dark wood, and decor
in warm, decadent colours. The bed had a super comfy memory foam mattress and a sofa converted into a double sleeping space for the children. The soft furnishings included luxurious Mascioni Egyptian cotton bed linen and a pillow menu with five options – heavenly at the end of a long day exploring. With the most amazing blackout curtains, it was the first time since having children that we had slept until 10am.

An Ocean View cabin
An Ocean View cabin

The marble bathroom had a bath and powerful shower, a perfect sanctuary to both refresh and relax. There was a dressing area with plenty of drawer space, as well as full- length hanging space – ideal for the attire needed for MSC Divina’s formal and ‘Meet the Captain’ evenings. There was also a dressing table with large mirror, spot lighting, drawer-mounted hair-dryer, mini-bar stocked up twice a day, a safe, flat-screen TV set and, to our son’s delight, a Nintendo Wii.

A private balcony accessed through a sliding door was the ideal place to enjoy our morning coffee as we entered each new port (and we were relieved to find that the children wouldn’t be able to open the door lock on their own). We lounged in super soft cotton robes and slippers, reading our newspapers. We even saw a pod of dolphin. A perfect moment; we were enchanted watching them whirl and jump in and out of the waves. This family cruise really was the antidote to our hectic lives back home.

There were three main private eating areas in the Yacht Club. We often ate snacks at the panoramic Top Sail Lounge, which had the most amazing picture windows with breathtaking sea views that helped create a calming atmosphere.

Daily breakfast within the One Pool Complex provided simple, good food; cereals, yogurts, fresh fruit, hot breakfasts and a full array of drinks. The experience was quiet and relaxed and very civilised. Each evening we dined in Le Muse, MSC Divina’s fine-dining restaurant. The service throughout was impeccable, the food refined and drinks plentiful; the fish menu comes highly recommended. Le Muse was child friendly and accommodating of fussiness. The daily menu included pasta, chicken and fries, if required.

There were numerous other eateries on the MSC Divina, such as the Eataly Steakhouse, Ristorante Italia and Galaxy Restaurant, allowing you to simply pop in for a snack or enjoy a sit down meal. However we were so enamoured with the Yacht Club, we mostly ate there for dinner. There were also temptations available in other venues throughout the ship such as ice creams and delicious pastries.